ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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I am Because We Are: Indigenous Research Paradigms and the Quest for Social Change

Bagele Mankha Chilisa

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 9 - Law Building, Room 102
Date: 2012-07-10 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-05-30


There is growing concern that curent dominant academic research traditions because of their tendecncies to exclude other knowledge systems, have failed through their research to bring about meaningful changes in the lifes of the researched. Using excerpts from the book Indigenous research methodologies (Chilisa 2011), I discuss these exclussionary tendencies by highlighting some of the challenges for example, with the standard ethical principle of informed consent; the archives of research tools such as tests; accumulated literature on the other; deficit and damage focussed theorizing about the other. In addition, I illustrate the epistemological, ontological and axiological assumptions and characteristics of an indigenous research paradigm informed by an I am because we are relationship. I argue that indigenous research paradigms valorize language, oral literatures, storytelling, songs, dance, weaving as foundations of the literature, philosophies, theories and methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation of research that promote social justice and social change. I conclude with a discussion of the tensions between dominant academic research traditions and indigenous knowledge systems and how to build partnerships between these knowledge systems with the goal to promote social change.