Comunicação em evento científico
Can the Colonizer Decolonize? Ethical and Methodological Dimensions of a Research Project with Ethnic Minorities in Colombia
Mariana Anginho Évora (Évora, M. A.); Sónia Pintassilgo (Pintassilgo, S.); Violeta Alarcão (Alarcão, V.);
Título Evento
3rd International Conference Social and Solidarity Economy and the Commons
Ano (publicação definitiva)
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As Smith (2008) argues in her book, researching indigenous peoples has been problematic for decades: (a) for categorizing groups and social norms within the frames of western epistemologies; (b) for not always being easy to distinguish what was gathering information for research, from what was gathering information for tourism, in the perspective of the indigenous peoples. Even with critical decolonial and postcolonial theories emerging, which approach subaltern populations within the social-historical contexts of dominance and power, the relationship between a researcher and its participants has to be strictly addressed in any research. Especially, when the researcher comes from a context of supposed privilege, and could easily reproduce the coloniality of knowledge (Quijano, 2000). As a PhD candidate in Sociology, this has been an issue since I started to design my research project. It aims to understand the relationship and interactions between the biomedical and the traditional models of birth in Colombia, and how they affect women’s pregnancy and childbirth experiences. For that, I proposed to do two different fieldworks in Colombia: one of them with an indigenous community; and the other with an afrocolombian community. Although this data gathering will only start in 2024, my concern for now is to make sure that all of the steps of my research are in line with the critical and decolonial theories that are part of my approach. This goal comes with a lot of reflections on my position as a portuguese researcher in Colombia. On one hand, because of my decolonial approach, I am reflecting on how to distance myself from eurocentrism, to better understand the categories and knowledge that I will be transmitted to in Colombia. On the other hand, I fear to unconsciously turn into a “white saviour” (Aronson, 2017). Although these two categories are framed in different lines - and even in different fields of studies -, they both reflect on the “positional superiority” stated by Said (2019), where I am able to be there (in this case, in Latin America) or to even think about it, with very little resistance. All these reflections come with a sense of notion that, in spite of my privileged position as an European in Colombia, my research can still be valid, as well as the knowledge that I might produce. For this communication, I intend to present and discuss the strategies that I have been developing to avoid, as much as possible, colonial mechanisms during my project. These strategies go far beyond the methodological and ethical dimensions: they are part of the theoretical, empirical and applied proposals of my research, in a long-term process of negotiation and discussion with my peers from both Portugal and Colombia, but especially with the participants of the study. On the theoretical approach, I intend to acknowledge that there are different forms of epistemologies that can interact between each other, aligned with the “ecologies of knowledges” proposed by Santos (2007). This means being able to use Western references for my project, as well as Latin American ones, knowing that they do not contradict each other. On the empirical approach, besides focusing on an ethnographic approach, that should limit my position as a researcher to a participant actor in the field, I intend to focus on participatory methodologies, such as the social autopsy (Kalter et. al., 2011). Finally, on the applied approach, I hope that the results I will produce can be published, shared and disseminated outside the academia, turning into useful policies for the participants of the study, or for other contexts where maternal health is being studied. All of these strategies are to be discussed and thought about during the years of research ahead. This communication brings the first ideas to my peers, knowing there is much to do and to reflect during all the process.
critical theories,ethics,decoloniality,ecologies of knowledges,participatory methodologies
Registos de financiamentos
Referência de financiamento Entidade Financiadora
UI/BD/154400/2023 Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia