Research Ethics and Social Movements
Scholarship, Activism and Knowledge Production
What ethical challenges are faced by researchers studying social and political movements? Should scholars integrate their personal politics and identities into their research? What role should activists have in shaping the purposes or processes of social scientific research? How do changing political contexts affect the ethical integrity of a research project over time?
These are some of the live issues of research ethics that face students and scholars whose research ‘subjects’ are located in contentious political terrain. The contributors to this volume expose their own ethical thinking as they have met such challenges head on. Each explores real dilemmas of ethical practice on the ground as they carry out research on social movements across the globe. Authors examining pro-democracy activists in Malaysia, sanctions-breakers in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, environmental health organisations in North America and much else find that the narrow confines of Research Ethics Committees and Institutional Review Boards offer little guidance on the questions that really matter. They offer instead a demonstration of continual reflexivity that is both personal and political in its approach. This book opens up debate on research ethics, delineating key challenges and offering hopeful and practical ways forward for real-world, ethical social science.
This bookw as published as a special issue of Social Movement Studies.
Table of Contents
1. The Difficult and Hopeful Ethics of Research on, and with, Social Movements 2. Social Movements and the Ethics of Knowledge Production 3. Reflexive Research Ethics for Environmental Health and Justice: Academics and Movement Building 4. Ethical and Political Challenges of Participatory Action Research in the Academy: Reflections on Social Movements and Knowledge Production in South Africa 5. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla: Human Rights, Activism and Academic Neutrality 6. Sisterhood and After: Individualism, Ethics and an Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement 7. Ethics, Activism and the Anti-Colonial: Social Movement Research as Resistance 8. Disclosed and Willing: Towards A Queer Public Sociology 9. Asking Tough Questions: The Ethics of Studying Activism in Democratically Restricted Environments 10. Research Note: A Personal Reflection on Negotiating Fear, Compassion and Self-Care in Research
Kevin Gillan’s publications have focused on the generation and communication of ideas in social and political movements and on their relationships with technology and globalisation. His latest research project, Making Corporations Moral, examines normative justifications for a range of activities that challenge corporate behaviour.
Jenny Pickerill is a Professor of Human Geography at Sheffield University. She has worked with a diverse range of activists, from anti-roads protestors in Britain to Indigenous environmental activists in Australia and eco-villagers in Thailand.