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Rethinking research: Systemic approaches to the ethics and politics of knowledge production in fragile states

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Classroom in MaliRecently, Humanity, a peer-reviewed academic journal from the University of Pennsylvania, has been hosting an online symposium on the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states. In light of the intensification of evidence-based policymaking and the “data revolution” in development, the symposium asked what the ethical and political implications are for qualitative research as a tool of governance.

We are presenting their articles in the coming days to share the authors' thoughts with the People, Spaces, Deliberation community and generate further discussion.

The symposium will begin tomorrow with a short paper from Deval Desai and Rebecca Tapscott, followed by responses during the coming weeks from Lisa Denney and Pilar Domingo (ODI); Michael Woolcock (World Bank); Morten Jerven (Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Simon Fraser University); Alex de Waal (World Peace Foundation); and Holly Porter (LSE). We hope that you enjoy the symposium and participate in the debate!

 The following blog posts are part of the symposium:
  1. Tomayto Tomahto: The research supply chain and the ethics of knowledge production by Deval Desai and Rebecca Tapscott
  2. Turning the gaze on ourselves: Acknowledging the political economy of development research by Lisa Denney and Pilar Domingo
  3. Beyond the quest for ‘policy implications’: Alternative options for applied development researchers by Michael Woolcock
  4. Evidence based policy or policy based evidence? Supply and demand for data in a donor-dominant world by Morten Jerven
  5. Policy to research to policy in difficult places by Alex de Waal
  6. The alchemy of relationships and the production of evidence by Holly Porter
  7. From method to market: some thoughts on the responses to Tomayto Tomahto by Deval Desai and Rebecca Tapscott

We look forward to your comments!

All contributors are writing in their personal capacities. The views expressed are those of the authors alone, and should not be attributed to the organizations with which they are affiliated.

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Photograph of classroom in
Mali by © Curt Carnemark / World Bank

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