Learning to say ‘no’: privilege, entitlement and refusal in peace, (post)conflict and security research

Jamie J. Hagen*, Ilaria Michelis, Jennifer Philippa Eggert, Lewis Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this forum, we focus on the possibility and necessity for active refusal in research, and the complexities of refusal. We offer four different perspectives, based on our shared concerns and understanding of the harms caused by some field research, and driven by our engagement with and membership in some of the communities experiencing this harmful fieldwork in peace, (post)conflict and security settings. Drawing on feminist, queer, indigenous, anti-racist and decolonial literatures and interventions, we seek to further a practice of refusal as an essential component of researcher reflexivity Our various positionalities and privileges, and the research entitlement they can bring, necessitate grappling with refusal: we must do better at saying ‘no’. We must also be careful about the ethics of refusal itself: Who gets to say ‘no’ to whom? What comes after the refusal? We hope our interventions encourage more of these conversations and (more importantly) practices. Refusals can be an important ‘full stop’ that interrupt exploitative relationships, and that challenge neoliberal and neocolonial conditions of knowledge production. But they can also be generative of different ways of sharing knowledge, leading to new partners and locations, new conversations that cross the boundaries between the imperialist categories of the researcher and the researched, and new relationships outside of research and outside of work.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Studies on Security
Early online date08 May 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 May 2023

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