Epistemological Privilege and Research


“Epistemological Privilege and Collaborative Research: A Reflection on Researching as an Outsider,” Practical Matters, (www.practicalmattersjournal.org), May 2013.

Ethnographic researchers often work outside of the boundaries of their own social location and lived experience. Yet when we cross the borders of our own lived knowledge, we are faced with the question of who has epistemological privilege in the research. This article attempts to answer this question by putting two lived experiences in dialogue: the story of a researcher (an outsider) and of a research participant (an insider). The author argues that solidarity with research participants must be a goal of the researcher. Thus, the researcher must abdicate the privilege of academic mobility and come to view research participants as collaborators, not mere subjects. The author advocates use of the participatory action research model is a methodology towards privileging the lived experience of research collaborators.


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