"All that you walk on to get there": New GenderIT.org edition shares feminist reflections on methodology, ethics and access in research

Image: Collage by Catalina Alzate

02 September 2019

Research and knowledge has long been based on a hierarchical and fraught dynamic between the researcher and researched, the objective academic and the "subject". Feminist ways of knowing, standpoint theory and participatory methodology are some of the tools that seek to destabilise and upset this equation and produce in its place the possibility of co-creating knowledge and technology together. 

This edition of GenderIT.org is a collection of analytical essays and reflexive writings on feminist ways of knowing, and practices and priorities in feminist internet research. The writers reflect on the politics of location and privilege, on complicated equations of being an insider/outsider in a space and doing research, power dynamics with the participant, "informer", "subject", and barriers around knowledge creation and access.  The focus is particularly on how there are added dimensions to all these questions when doing research on the internet and digital technology.

In this edition:

"All that you walk on to get there": How to centre feminist ways of knowing (editorial)

Feminist ways of knowing have paid close attention to the power dynamics of knowledge-making and extraction. In this editorial, we look at how these questions are of importance especially in relation to research that seeks to contribute to liberation and transformation of technology to be used by women and people of diverse sexualities and genders.

Memory and invisibility: Feminist research as institutional archive of our diversity

What is the place of memory in research? What happens when researchers hold fragile links to the past for a community? How can we pleasantly complicate our ideas around research and writing by including the role of memories –  that of those being researched and our own as well?

Participatory design of smart home technology: Self-reflections of my work as a black African migrant HCI researcher

What are the complications that identity can produce in research? And when can it be fruitful? Can we design solutions and technology keeping in mind the diversity of people, and seeking particularly to include those voices often less heard in technology design?

“I have read and agree to the terms and conditions”: Informed consent in the age of social media

Research on social media, particularly relying on public and semi-public data shared by people, raises uncomfortable questions about privacy of people and their consent to being part of a research project. What questions of consent does a feminist lens on this subject raise?

Sorry, we need to see a letter from an institution: Struggling as an independent researcher

The hallowed halls of academia, meaningless standards of rigour determine who can be a researcher. Would it be possible to truly undertake independent research outside of the aegis and agendas of institutions?

Letter to my younger self – a budding feminist researcher

What is the difference between doing research that takes into consideration gender as a factor and being a feminist researcher? In this touching and funny letter, a researcher speaks to her younger self about naivete, idealism and of course, funding. 

Digging up trauma, survivor porn and other ethical concerns about research

Research is often meant for lofty objectives of ensuring policy change, and at at the very least, it should do no harm. But what if your research is about violence –  and what risks do we run when asking participants to revisit their trauma and hurt that they experienced because of online violence?

Doing standpoint theory

How to work with people who repeatedly and rightly question the motivations for our research? This article looks specifically at a research project that deals with workers and unions who often need external support and allies to address recurring crises, and particularly at what feminist ethical research practices would mean in this context. 

Read the full edition, including additional feature articles and Feminist Talk blog posts in Spanish, at GenderIT.org.

This work forms part of the APC “Feminist Internet Research Network” project, supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The views expressed therein do not necessarily represent those of IDRC or its Board of Governors.

 



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