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Author:Kudus Adebayo (University of The Witwatersrand)
Paper short abstract:
To comprehend the value and promise of positionality in fashioning a productive vision of situated knowledge that amplifies the voices of the marginalised, oppressed and silenced, I argue that we must equally attempt to understand who gains from the “positionality enterprise.”
Paper long abstract:
The need for researchers to pay attention to how positionality or social location shape/determine the knowledge they generate is a going concern in many academic fields and intellectual traditions of practice. However, what are researchers from the global South saying when they frame their positionality as a resource for instituting a representative, fair and just global epistemic order? How may these researchers acknowledge the intertwining of their positionality with the lives of the researched when they deploy social location for negotiating and deconstructing established Western epistemic authority? The first question invites us to dissect the unstated or under-articulated issues in what we could call the “positionality enterprise”. In contrast, the second advances a push towards more critical engagement with how researchers and the researched benefit -- or not -- from the turn to positionality. By reflecting on “who positionality “epp”?, a poser framed after a 2016 Nigerian Street/Hip-Hop song, I will argue that, to properly probe the value and promise of positionality in fashioning a productive vision of situated knowledge that amplifies the voices of the marginalised, oppressed and silenced, we must equally attempt to understand who gains from the positionality enterprise. The contribution seeks to confront the teleological question, which broadens and contributes to the moral and ethical considerations in positionality and knowledge production debate.
The politics and epistemic value of positionality