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What do We Mean by Decolonizing Research Strategies? Lessons from Decolonizing, Indigenous Research Projects in New Zealand and Latin America

Author(s): Miguel Zavala

Journal: Decolonization : Indigeneity, Education & Society
ISSN 1929-8692

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: analytic review | decolonizing research | grassroots research | PAR

While progressive allied scholars have articulated sound historical, philosophical, and deconstructive critiques of the colonizing and neo-liberal agendas shaping what counts as legitimate research, their arguments for alternative methodologies are generally silent on the role grassroots research collectives play in forming a strategic response to colonialism in the present.  Here, the author develops a positional review of existing bodies of work, in particular participatory action-research (PAR) projects, focusing on what can be learned from these experiments in community self-determination.  Building from PAR projects in the North, the author argues for a renewed understanding of the primacy of grassroots structures in decolonizing, Indigenous research projects as they have taken form in New Zealand and Latin America. These lessons suggest that decolonizing research strategies are less about the struggle for method and more about the spaces that make decolonizing research possible.  The review concludes with a discussion of the possibility in research undertaken Xicano and Indigenous scholars, who find themselves as “outsiders-within” in university spaces.

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