Research solidarity? Navigating feminist ethics in participatory action-research in Kathmandu, Nepal

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Abstract

This article looks reflexively at the experience of PhD fieldwork—undertaken internationally, in partnership with a locally-based organization, and with informal settlement residents— which was shaped both by a feminist research ethic, as well as by the principles of participatory action-research. It examines the notion of ‘solidarity’, seeking to understand the contradictions and challenges of embedding research into action. To do so, it examines three sets of relationships within the fieldwork that challenged solidarity: with the city-wide organization; with the neighbourhood-based grassroots group; and with residents that were ‘excluded’ from the community organization. By reflecting on the particular challenges of each set of relations, it explores how solidarity was negotiated through three different strategies: embedding the research methods in a wider advocacy strategy, adopting framings which foregrounded structural constraints, and in exploring safe spaces and silence when reflecting on risky issues. In outlining these strategies (and the sometimes-ambiguous outcomes), this article presents an account of a research process that was uncertain, power-laden, and negotiated—reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of undertaking collaborative, action-oriented research.

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APA

Butcher, S. (2021). Research solidarity? Navigating feminist ethics in participatory action-research in Kathmandu, Nepal. Gender, Place and Culture, 28(4), 497–518. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2020.1751087

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