Advancing the rising field of engaged or participatory anthropology that is emerging at the same time as increased opposition from Indigenous peoples to research, this book offers critical reflections on research approaches to-date. The engaged approach seeks to change the researcher-researched relationship fundamentally, to make methods more appropriate and beneficial to communities by involving them as participants in the entire process from choice of research topic onwards. The aim is not only to change power relationships, but also engage with non-academic audiences. The advancement of such an egalitarian and inclusive approach to research can provoke strong opposition. Some argue that it threatens academic rigour and worry about the undermining of disciplinary authority. Others point to the difficulties of establishing an appropriately non-ethnocentric moral stance and navigating the complex problems communities face. Drawing on the experiences of Indigenous scholars, anthropologists and development professionals acquainted with a range of cultures, this book furthers our understanding of pressing issues such as interpretation, transmission and ownership of Indigenous knowledge, and appropriate ways to represent and communicate it. All the contributors recognise the plurality of knowledge and incorporate perspectives that derive, at least in part, from other ways of being in the world.
Paul Sillitoe, Department of Anthropology at Durham University, UK.
’Sillitoe has (again) hit upon a collection that wonderfully meets an urgent contemporary need for anthropologists. His wide range of contributors address a bevy of pertinent issues and one can only hope that the collaboration they advocate persists beyond the present moment of interest.’ Joy Hendry, Oxford Brookes University, UK ’This important and timely book provides answers to the pressing question that now confronts young anthropologists setting off to do fieldwork with indigenous peoples: what is the benefit of this to us? By bringing together contributions from indigenous scholars and anthropologists this book enriches both fields and provides a framework for dialogue directed to realizing the emancipatory possibilities of research that is done with people rather than about them.’ Paul Oldham, United Nations University, Japan ’The book includes powerful insights from different parts of the world that demonstrate the challenges, nuances, ethics, practices, potential and power of engaged approaches. Relationships between researcher and researched communities are skilfully negotiated through individual chapters and the dialogue that was created through the symposium to bring these pieces together. Such work is never comfortable, and dialogue can be testing and difficult but it is worth the effort on all sides as it uncovers understandings that could not come to be in any other way. Thoroughly recommended for those beginning their journey of engagement and for those who are well along the way.’ Linda Tuhiwai Smith, The University of Waikato, New Zealand