In the recent years, collaborative partnerships between research centres in the Global North and the Global South became one of the central spaces for producing knowledge on refugee issues.
In this literature review, Salma Essam El Refaei, a PhD student at Carleton University, analyzed the Forced Migration field to study how these partnerships evolve, as well as their findings and impact to locate possible solutions to the challenges that research partnerships and networks face.
Research shows that partnerships can be effectively transformative, if research partners approach the collaboration as a means towards producing knowledge. It is also important for research partners to engage self-critically in an evaluation of what they are contributing to the partnership and simultaneously assess how they might be compromising the equality of the research collaboration, given the power asymmetries between the Global North and the Global South.
This entails being transparent, inclusive and reflective. It means that both partners need to be aware of the dangers of ‘empowerment’ and how power inequalities are subliminally reproduced through language, culture and logistics. It also is imperative to avoid framing and engaging with the southern partner as the gate keeper to subversive knowledge or the spokesperson to refugees in the Global South.
Transformative research partnerships need to constantly assess the extent to which they are ethical, mindful, and aware of the power inequalities they are reproducing. They need to reflect on the extent to which they are contributing to the betterment of living conditions for the refugee populations they are studying or working with. Finally, it is important that research partnerships remain flexible, creative and refugee oriented.
You can read the full literature review here.
More about Salma
Salma Essam El Refaei is a second year PhD student at the Political Science department at Carleton University. She has a BA in Political Science and History from the American University in Cairo and an MA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia. She works on care ethics, critical feminist research methods, and research ethics for refugee research in International Relations.