research as resistance

Posted by Daniela Elza on Apr 07 2007

Today I came across the book Research as Resistance and was tempted to peek inside. I ended up reading a piece by Margaret Kovach titled, Emerging from the Margins: Indigenous Methodologies. Three quotes stayed with me. Even though the first one is kind of obvious, it is so important to remind ourselves that:

The language that we use shapes the way we think. … It is the tool by which a meta-narrative of “truth” and “normalcy” is perpetually reproduced. (p. 25)

She also quotes Shawn Wilson’s definition of methodology, which I like very much because it is simple, and because it gets down to the essence without the stiffness:

When we talk about methodology, we are talking about how you are going to use your ways of thinking (epistemology) to gain more knowledge about your reality.

So you can see where I am going with this, after this third quote (my favorite part):

. . . other options that capture alternate ways of knowing will emerge as legitimate. For example, dreams have long been a source of knowledge for indigenous cultures. Solitude with nature and the gift of insight we receive from those experiences are another source of knowledge. (p. 31)

So there, poets are working on the margins of research, whether we consider it legitimate or not. Now let us move these margins closer to the center, and enrich our knowing, and ways there of.

See these margins. They are only margins because we have pushed them out, and cleared the place for the “scientific” method only. In some cultures these ways of knowing are at the center and the “scientific” ways are on the margins.

But wait. That is just a matter of perspective. A matter of where we stand. In the clearing? Or in the woods surrounding it? Or are you in the woods, and coming out into the clearing? Which one of these is your habitat? And which one do you find threatening? How much we can learn about our preferred ways of knowing.

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