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Decolonising methodologies: emergent learning in island research


Farbotko, C and Watson, P and Kitara, T and Stratford, E, Decolonising methodologies: emergent learning in island research, Geographical Research pp. 1-9. ISSN 1745-5863 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2021 Institute of Australian Geographers

DOI: doi:10.1111/1745-5871.12519


This article documents an attempt to decolonise our approach to methodology to explicitly show respect for islands and their islanders. Our twin starting points are an awareness of a turn to the Anthropocene in studies related to islands and an appreciation of the imperative to think outside colonial frames. The Anthropocene has been conceived as both an enduring colonising force and a significant moment in decolonisation, and islands have been viewed as emblematic of the Anthropocene, so the relationship between them is complex. These dynamic conceptions raise dilemmas for those wanting to apply methodologies to island research and negotiate ethical relations across multiple geographies and knowledge systems. For those whose cultures have been subjected to colonial oppressions, there are emotional and material costs and varied risks in participating in attempts to decolonise island research. Settler researchers seeking to ally themselves with others to advance such agendas and aspirations may slow or damage decolonising practices if they act without appropriate permissions, respectful commitments to support and understand decolonisation, and preparedness to engage in deep learning about what decolonisation of knowledge means. With these challenges in mind, we detail an approach to decolonising one of our own island research projects in ways that are enriched by a Tuvaluan concept, Fale Pili, which means treating a neighbour’s problems as your own.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Anthropocene, decolonising practices, Fale Pili, islands, knowledge, methodology
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Political geography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Farbotko, C (Dr Carol Farbotko)
UTAS Author:Watson, P (Dr Phillipa Watson)
UTAS Author:Stratford, E (Professor Elaine Stratford)
ID Code:147678
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:College Office - CoSE
Deposited On:2021-11-11
Last Modified:2021-12-06

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