Working Together: Feminist Perspectives on Collaborative Research and Action
AbstractIn their commitment to reflection on the processes and methodologies used to create and apply knowledge, feminist geographers have devoted considerable attention to the politics of research, emphasizing such issues as reflexivity, relations with ‘subjects,’ representation, and voice, particularly to concerns about power. Most research questions continue to be defined by the single researcher, and publications to appear in a single authorial voice. Nevertheless, some feminist geographers have discussed how they involved community women in shaping research agendas and collecting data, and a few have taken up questions of collaboration with research assistants. In this paper, we introduce additional considerations that arise when collaboration involves partnerships between researchers and community organizations and/or cross-national partnerships. Drawing on our experiences with colleagues and community health agencies at the Mexico-U.S. border, we consider themes of differences in conceptual and methodological orientations, access to resources, expectations about publication of results, and modes of communication. In the process, we reflect on motivations, building relationships of trust, the importance of flexibility, institutional reward systems, and ‘turf.’ We invite readers to reflect on how such issues can be particularly construed from feminist perspectives.
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