More Than Extraction? Ethics, Methods and Knowledge Economies in African Politics Stream at ASAUK24
Posted on 7th November, 2023 in News
More Than Extraction? Ethics, Methods and Knowledge Economies in African Politics
This stream has two interrelated goals. The first is practical and the second is political. We are seeking, firstly, to bring together a series of applied examples and experiences which speak to the practical methodological and ethical challenges associated with conducting fieldwork based research focusing on different aspects of African politics. It is our hope that these reflections will contribute to ongoing conversations regarding better practices when it comes to both methods and ethics, and will consequentially prove to be of use for future researchers who end up grappling with similar kinds of challenges. We therefore invite paper and panel submissions which reflect upon the ethical and methodological challenges associated with conducting research into elections, political rallies, conflict and peace-building, gender-based harms, migration and belonging, and and many other issues associated with politics on the African continent. We are seeking, secondly, to reflect upon the larger political, economic and ideological factors which shape how and why knowledge about Africa gets produced and consumed. Ethical and methodological questions cannot be separated from political and institutional considerations. Systems of privilege and marginalisation cannot be wished away, so they need to be both interrogated and contested. This is where precedents and power relations established under colonialism and imperialism take center stage. Europeans have been extracting valuable resources from the African continent for centuries. Research into African politics risks being yet another extractive industry. There are times when committed individuals can make valuable contributions to a more equitable future, but funding streams, knowledge hierarchies, and institutional positions continue to have powerful effects. Accordingly, the contributors to this stream will also take up upon the layered effects of power and position, relationships between researchers, organisations, brokers, and communities, and the political economy of knowledge production; thereby bringing into focus uncomfortable questions about how and why information gets generated, for which kinds of audiences, and for whose benefit.
Be in touch with the stream organisers to discuss your ideas for a panel or presentation. Joel Quirk at Joel.Quirk@wits.ac.za and Nicole Beardsworth at email@example.com.