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Collaborative Research, experiences from Latin America

Part of a series of events to wrap up the RCN-funded project 'Extracting Justice?'

Sted: Pilestredet 46. Rom PA113 Athene 1 Dato og tid: torsdag 22. juni 2017 kl. 09.00 - 13.00


Seminar latin amerika


9.00 – 9.15 Welcome

Roy Krøvel (Department of Journalism and Media studies, HiOA) and Esben Leifsen (Department of International Development and environment Studies - NMBU)

9.15 – 10.00 : Introduction to collaborative research viewed from Latin America.

Arturo Escobar (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Universidad del Valle, Cali)

Since the heyday of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and the "pedagogy of the oppressed" until today, Latin American academics and intellectual-activists have produced a panoply of politicized collaborative research methods that is perhaps unparalleled in the world. This talk presents the main lines of work in this tradition and takes stock of their contributions to both knowledge production and social transformation.

10.00 – 10.15: Questions and short responses from the audience followed by a short brake

10.30 – 12.00 Cases

Marilyn Machado Procesos de Comunidades Negros de Colombia - PCN & Arturo Escobar: 

Experiences from work with Procesos de Comunidades Negras de Colombia.

María A. Guzmán-Gallegos (Department of Social Anthropology, UiO):

The dilemmas of translation around collaboration and collaborative research in oil affected communities in the Peruvian Amazonia - how to deal with internal differences and with state and corporations' politics of differentiation?

Luis Sánchez Vázquez (University of Granada of Granada), Maleny Reyes (Observatory of Socio-environmental Conflicts, Technical University of Loja) & Esben Leifsen:

Struggling with the ‘politics of time’ in a collaborative research project in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The role of community based environmental monitoring in counterwork against large-scale mining.

Roy Krøvel with Rosalba Ipia (coordinator, Universidad Autónoma indígena Intercultural, Cauca, Colombia) on Skype

“The community is the researcher”. Experiences from a research project with RUIICAY, the Network of Indigenous, Intercultural and Community Universities, and the work to generate autonomous knowledge, research and intercultural communication education.

Viviane Weitzner (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores de Antropología Social - CIESAS) & Héctor Jaime Vinasco (Resugardo indígena Cañamomo Lomaprieta)  

Activist Research in Colombia”: Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples weaving peace in defense of their territorial rights and gobierno propio (self-government).

Moderator: Anne Hege Simonsen (Department of Journalism and Media studies, HiOA)

12.00 – 12.30 Comments

Eva Marie Fjellheim (Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund, SAIH)

Randi Kaarhus (Nord University)

Bill Derman (Noragric, NMBU)

12.30 – 13.00: Questions, comments, plenary discussion.

Seminar background

Rapid expansion and violent change characterize the current search for and exploitation of natural resources in Latin America. The expansion of the extractive frontier is increasingly affecting indigenous, afro-descendant and other socially marginalized people, and their social and natural environments, territories and lifeways are under pressure. Intensified extractive activity takes at the same time place in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, where authorities recognize international norms of collective rights, and incorporate these into their States’ constitutions and laws. The recognition of formal rights, however, is no guarantee of social and environmental justice, but is rather a potential that can be activated by affected people, but which is also constantly challenged by violent interventions, ambiguous legal practices and fragmented State responses. The struggle for social and environmental justice is highly political, and constitutes the everyday work of social movements and activist networks and groups and their allies. Counterwork challenge dominant practices and models of ‘development’ and ‘modernization’, and renegotiate the terms and conditions of democratic participation.

In this seminar, we look at research that engage with these struggles. We present examples of collaborative research that address the effects of extractive policies in Latin America.  The presentations draw from current research, and are also based on experiences from well-established practices of action, participatory and engaged research. Collaborative research could be described as knowledge producing practice that combine academic research agendas and political agendas for social transformation. Researchers from traditional academic institutions work together with affected people, activists and their communities to design research agendas, develop methods, produce data and co-author texts. The objectives and aspirations of this work are diverse, and can entail negotiations over the terms of intervention, or the contestation of how the consequences of rapid and violent social and environmental change are defined. Collaborative research can focus on the struggle for social and environmental justice, and it can also include projects of defining alternative visions of life and being. Consequently, academics doing collaborative research relate to and engage in different types of political work, spanning negotiation and resistance work as well as epistemological and ontological politics. 

The presenters in this seminar focus on collaborative experiences in situations where indigenous, afro-descendant and other socially marginalized people face rapid and violent changes to their social and natural environments. We explore the possibilities, potentials but also obstacles and challenges that collaborative research initiatives and agendas create. The presenters are academic and activist researchers participating in two research projects. One is the RCN financed project, ‘Extracting Justice? Exploring the role of FPIC, consultation and compensation related to socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America’ (RCN project no. 236912/H30), hosted by Noragric at the Norwegian University of Life Science. The other is ‘RUIICAY-HIOA Intercultural Communication Linkage Programme. University network collaboration on increasing institutional capacities on autonomous intercultural communication in education and research’ hosted by Department of Journalism and Media Studies at HiOA.