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Accepted Paper:

Ethical conundrums in Africa(-China studies): An autoethnography  
Abdul-Gafar Oshodi (Lagos State University)

Paper short abstract:

Based on a research project that studied non-state actors and Chinese environmental footprints in Ghana, this paper sheds some light on the challenges confronting research ethics in Africa. This intervention is hinged on the 4Ps (Place, People, Precedent, and Principles) that guided the project.

Paper long abstract:

There appears to be institutional support for promoting ethics in Africa but local researchers are still confronted with fundamental challenges and difficulties that may upend gains. Yet, these challenges and difficulties go beyond the institutional and can extend to the researchers’ worldview and positionality, funders’ commitments, participants’ expectations, timing, and legacy questions among others. The situation can be further complicated when researchers have little ethical precedence, as the case of Africa-China studies appear to suggest. It is against this background that this paper offers a discussion of ethical conundrums confronting researchers in Africa in general and specifically discusses ethics and Africa-China scholarship from an experiential perspective. With a focus on ethics, I will share my experience of researching how/why non-state actors engage Chinese environmental footprints in Ghana. Adopting autoethnography, my experience will be discussed within the context of the 4Ps (which stands for Place, People, Principle and Precedent) – i.e. four reflective and integral elements of the Global Ethics Toolkit co-developed by researchers and other stakeholders across several countries. Grounded in experiential learning, the paper will conclude by inviting a conversation on the workability (or otherwise) of three pathways to address the identified ethical conundrums.

Panel Poli37
Pasts and futures of research ethics in the African contexts
  Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -