Decolonizing participatory research & ethical issues in EEC

The legacy of colonialism in childhood studies will not disappear by itself (Markowska-Manista, 2020)

Keywords: Childhood research, children’s rights research, research ethics, ethical symmetry,  Eurocentric bias

I would like to make a distinction between the East, West, South and North in childhood, youth and children’s rights studies as we are dealing with a strong diversification of practical and theoretical contexts and the context of children’s functioning based on historical, social, political and cultural processes.

This translates to a diversity in research approaches as well as childhood and children’s rights studies e.g. in East European countries, in the South Caucasus or Asia Minor. The political division into the Global North and the Global South simplifies in my view our understanding of children’s situation and introduces a disproportionate divide in the world of scholars into two stereotypical groups.

We have to be able to see the blank spots in childhood and children’s rights studies generated by this divide: research which – due to the global approach – has found itself in the peripheries or been hidden as it has been pushed outside or between the criteria accepted for the Global South and the Global North.

Ethical and epistemological Issues in Research with Children

more: Liebel, M., & Markowska-Manista, U. (2021). Presentación. Cuestiones éticas y epistemológicas en la investigación con niños. Sociedad E Infancias5(Especial), 1-4.

Discussing selected dilemmas resulting from the epistemological background of researchers dealing with contemporary childhood and youth studies, I look at attempts to “give space and voice” to children from the Global South, whose right to dignity (through the prism of voice and image) should be respected.

I refer to decolonial theories and approaches, to the right to speak, the right to protect the voices and images of children and youth with migrant/refugee context in narrations about themselves. They should be heard and ethically studied and described (aspects such as: a sense of safety, respect for human rights, including the right to dignity, grassroots activism  in matters that concern them). These voices – personal narrations, are important as they enable us to analyse and show the situation and experiences of women from the perspective of their own context in which they functioned, function and will function.

The incorporation of an ethical, decolonial approach in narrations about migrants and refugees (children) and narrations of migrants and refugees (children), allows us to avoid the perpetuation of epistemological violence, hidden discrimination and an incomplete, generalising representation of refugeeism of thousands of people that fails to present their own stories in their own narrations.

More: Markowska-Manista, Urszula (2020). Clarity about the purpose of research. In P. Alderson & V. Morrow (Eds.). The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People. Los Angeles: SAGE, pp. 22-23.

Markowska-Manista U., (2018). The ethical dilemmas of research with children from the countries of the Global South. Whose participation? Polish Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. I (LXXI), pp. 51-65, DOI: 10.2478/poljes-2018-0005

M. Liebel, U.Markowska-Manista (2021). Ethische Dilemmata partizipativer Forschung mit Kindern des Globalen Südens. Ein Plädoyer für die Dekolonisierung der Kindheitsforschung In: (Eds.) M. Joos & L. Alberth “Forschungsethik in der Kindheitsforschung”. Reihe Kindheiten – Neue Folge, hrsg. v. H. Kelle. Weinheim/Basel: Beltz Juventa (to be published in 2021).

Liebel, M., & Markowska-Manista, U. (2021). Presentación. Cuestiones éticas y epistemológicas en la investigación con niños. Sociedad E Infancias(Especial), 1-4.