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Titre

Activism and geography

Dates

3 et 4 septembre 2019

Responsable de l'activité

Julie de Dardel

Organisateur(s)

Julie De Dardel, UNIGE

Isabelle Schoepfer, UNIFR

Intervenant(s)

Dr Michele Lancione, Senior Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Prof. Amy Ritterbusch, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Description

The current socio-political and environmental context calls into question the social responsibility of academic scholars in an unprecedented fashion. The aim of this workshop is to collaboratively broaden our thinking as geographers on our contribution to social change. Participants will be invited to question the ethical and political dimensions of their practice and production as social scientists, and to explore different ways of reconciling research and action for social, racial, environmental and/or gender justice.

Notions of "engaged scholarship" or "scholar activism" embrace a rather wide range of theoretical and practical ways of assuming the role of researcher. This includes the production of critical analysis and expertise that can be mobilized by citizens, communities, institutions or social movements to generate social change. However, this activism also takes more proactive forms of commitment, which generally take place outside of the researcher's office. To name a few: in "the field", by building relationships of reciprocity, collaboration and coproduction of knowledge with the participant; in the places where social struggles occur, joining communities and civil society organizations in their mobilizations; other than academic papers, using tools to widely diffuse critical knowledge or express solidarity, such as videos, blogs, social media, exhibitions, or art pieces (plastic arts, theatre, literature, etc.); in the hallways and the classrooms of the university, organizing with students and colleagues to transform the academy. In one way or another and to varying degrees, most social scientists take part in such practices or feel the need to position themselves within them.

This workshop will offer the space for PhD students to reflect upon ethical and political challenges in their own research. Discussion panels and workshops will aim to collectively share, discuss, and hopefully resolve dilemmas and issues regarding engaged scholarship. Besides keynote addresses by senior researchers, PhD students will play an active role as panellists in roundtables and will work in groups during workshop sessions. Advanced researchers will share their experiences and discuss issues with PhD students on an egalitarian basis.

Programme

3rd of September 2019

10:00-10:30: Coffee

10:30-11:15: Welcome address, roundtable and introduction

Isabelle Schoepfer (Unifr) & Julie de Dardel (Unige)

 

11:15-12:30: Keynote Address and Discussion I : Michele Lancione

Minor ethnography and the activist mode of existence

Chair: Isabelle Schoepfer

 

12:30 – 14:15: Bio vegetarian/vegan lunch

 

14:15-15:30 Keynote Address and Discussion II: Amy Ritterbusch (UCLA)

Imagining Research Justice: On Participatory Action Research and the Dangers of Extractivist Activism and Scholarship

Chair: Julie de Dardel

 

15:30-16:00: Coffee Break

 

16:00-18:00: Producing social impact beyond academic writing

  • Holding a blog during my PhD research: the example of Eyesonyouth4sale, by Amy Ritterbusch
  • Documentary Projection: It started raining/A început ploaia: Fighting for the right to housing in Bucharest (2017), by Michele Lancione
  • Collective discussion

19:30: Bio vegetarian/vegan diner

 

4th of September 2019

7:30-8:15: Good morning run

Led by Isabelle Schoepfer

 

8:00-9:15: Breakfast

 

9:20-11:30 Parallel panels

 

Ethics and engagement on and after the field: risk, sensitivity and vulnerability

Each research context raises its own ethical and political issues, related to the levels of risks entailed by the researcher and/or research partners, the levels of sensitivity of a topic, the vulnerability of the participants, the researcher's will to contribute to the social/racial/environmental/gender/* struggles the participants are part of, etc. Some contexts (e.g. war contexts) show explicit violence, while a more latent form of domination may characterize others. Practicing research in such contexts may increase, disrupt of transform such violent relationships, and this should be subject to reflection and positioning. Certain methods and steps in research also raise their own ethical and political questions, as regards anonymity, reputation, the treatment of collected talk, the co-production of knowledge, giving back and reporting to the participants, etc.

Panellists: PhD students

Discussants: Amy Ritterbusch (UCLA)+ Estelle Sohier (Unige).

Chair: Julie de Dardel (Unige)

 

Ethical commitment and social engagement: relationships with institutions

Social science research is by nature relational, and these relations exceed the moment of field research. Researchers are embedded and entangled in diverse sets of relationships with communities, organizations, institutions. These relations raise questions that concern the social engagement of researchers: How does one deal with institutional mandates? What is the limit between collaboration and co-optation? How does one negotiate the boundaries between activism and research? How socially relevant and useful can one’s research become? To what extent can it contribute to social/racial/environmental/gender/* justice? To what degree does activism negatively affect scientific work (e.g. risk of dogmatism, simplification, judgmental/haughty attitude towards colleagues)? How does the academy deal with engaged scholarship and scholar-activists?

Panellists: PhD students

Discussants: Michele Lancione (Cardiff University) + [other discussant tbc].

Chair: Isabelle Schoepfer (Unifr)

 

11:30-12.15: Plenary discussion on the issues addressed during the panels

Chair: tbc

 

13:30-15:00: Participatory workshop

[Title TBC]

Led by Amy Ritterbusch and Michele Lancione.

 

15:00-16:00: Final discussion

Chairs: Isabelle Schoepfer (Unifr) & Julie de Dardel (Unige)

 

Expected preparatory work

  • Based on your own experiences/expectations, please write a short paper (800 to 1500 words) reflecting on one of the 2 general topics hereunder. This reflection paper should help you clarify your position and identify solutions to ethical or political issues related to your work

1. Ethics and engagement on and after the field: risk, sensitivity and vulnerability

Each research context raises its own ethical and political issues, related to the levels of risks entailed by the researcher and/or research partners, the levels of sensitivity of a topic, the vulnerability of the participants, the researcher's will to contribute to the social/racial/environmental/gender/* struggles the participants are part of, etc. Some contexts (e.g. war contexts) show explicit violence, while a more latent form of domination may characterize others. Practicing research in such contexts may increase, disrupt of transform such violent relationships, and this should be subject to reflection and positioning. Certain methods and steps in research also raise their own ethical and political questions, as regards anonymity, reputation, the treatment of collected talk, the co-production of knowledge, giving back and reporting to the participants, etc.

 

2. Ethical commitment and social engagement: relationships with institutions

Social science research is by nature relational, and these relations exceed the moment of field research. Researchers are embedded and entangled in diverse sets of relationships with communities, organizations, institutions. These relations raise questions that concern the social engagement of researchers: How does one deal with institutional mandates? What is the limit between collaboration and co-optation? How does one negotiate the boundaries between activism and research? How socially relevant and useful can one’s research become? To what extent can it contribute to social/racial/environmental/gender/* justice? To what degree does activism negatively affect scientific work (e.g. risk of dogmatism, simplification, judgmental/haughty attitude towards colleagues)? How does the academy deal with engaged scholarship and scholar-activists?

 

  • To be sent by the 24 Augusts 2019 to:

isabelle.schoepfer@unifr.ch and julie.dedardel(at)unine(dot)ch

 

b. This paper will provide you with a basis for a 5-minute presentation, taking place during one of the panels on the 4th of September. Please prepare your speech in advance.

 

Recommended readings

[List in construction to be communicated before the workshop]

Lieu

L'Aubier, Montezillon

Plan

Plan

Information
Places

16

Délai d'inscription 15.08.2019
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