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Accepted Paper:

Whose stories, whose voices: reflections on the ethnographic conundrum  
Hanna Werner (Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt)

Paper Short Abstract:

My paper asks what it takes to facilitate research at eye level, both methodologically and ethically, and if and when the ‘decolonial’ is an apt conceptual approach in this regard - and for whom. The paper offers reflections on legacies and legitimations in ethnographic research practice and output.

Paper Abstract:

Drawing on ethnographic work with socioecological mobilisations in India, this paper explores the possibilities of research at eye level and genuine collaboration, both in research encounters and in output. The multi-layered consideration of the ‘decolonial’ seems crucial in this context, as its use not only challenges academic methodology and ethics, but also becomes increasingly relevant as a tool of (self-)positioning and resistance for people in various contexts. However, charged as it is in academia, it also opens doors to misconceptions and decontextualised appropriations. The issues addressed in this paper therefore include: In what contexts is the decolonial an apt conceptual, practical and/or ethical approach - why, and for whom? How does it relate to other concepts that challenge historical, spatial, and epistemic inequalities? What does the uncompromising rejection of any paternalism and the radical questioning of one's own legacy and legitimacy mean for ethnographic research, including its ‘post-production’ in texts or other outputs? What does it take to do justice to calls for decoloniality - be it one’s own or those of others - if decoloniality is to be more than a paper testimony of one’s credits and credentials? What is the heuristic and ethical value of its use, and for whom? How can different epistemologies of the decolonial be negotiated, and whose voices (shall) lead the way? Based on my own research practice, I hope to offer, if not answers, then at least food for discussion.

Panel P172
What’s in a name? A reality check on recent claims and practices of decolonising anthropology
  Session 2 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -