Feminist Methods in Conflict Zones

Authors: Kimberly Roberts*, York University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: political ecology, feminist methods, conflict, resource extraction
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Access rights are not only property rights, but extend to an ability to derive benefits, which includes knowledge and knowledge production. In Myanmar, asking questions about researcher access is particularly salient due to a history of conflict and present conflicts, where much of the country remains largely inaccessible to outsiders. This restricted access to researchers has made it difficult to investigate the impacts of decisions over natural resource access and use. I argue that these research sites are situated, and to ask questions about access involves asking questions not only about the resource users, but how we learn about them. This impact on researcher access requires a deviation from the self-determined forms of fieldwork geographers and anthropologist have traditionally relied on. As such, this paper discusses postcolonial theorizations of representation and power and feminist methodological approaches to decentering that power and privilege. In doing so, I argue for transparency in research methods used in conflict zones and seek to avoid a practice that ignores both the role of the researcher in the research, but also the influence of politics, power, and authority on the research process.

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