Reflecting on the ethics of PhD research in the Global South: reciprocity, reflexivity and situatedness
Keywords:Research ethics, Ethnography, Doctoral research, Decoloniality, Feminism
This paper explores ethical issues of reciprocity, reflexivity and situatedness in conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the Global South as part of PhD research projects. Against the backdrop of increasingly bureaucratised doctoral processes, we argue that PhD students occupy a particular terrain that involves continuous navigation of tensions between institutionally-required ethical procedures and ‘situational’ ethical processes in the field. We illustrate these tensions by analysing reflections on our experiences of conducting fieldwork in Indonesia, India and the Philippines. Guided by decolonial and feminist thought highlighting the politics of knowledge (co)production, this paper unpacks the problems of insider-outsider binaries and standardised ethical procedures, and explores the possibilities of ethics as visible, collaborative negotiation.
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