{Method}ology Otherwise Reading Session #3: Refusing Research

For our third reading group session, we dive into Tuck and Yang’s R-words: Refusing research, thinking together on the refusal to do research, and the refusal to be researched. During this session we will tackle questions of research ethics: Are current ethical standards within academia sufficient to conduct research? How do we develop an ethics for research that differentiates between power and people?

All are invited to attend and discuss, including folks outside academia. We know life gets busy and some might not find the time to read the text before. We encourage all who are interested in the topic to attend nonetheless to enrich our conversation.

Join us on June 22 at 18:00-19:30 CEST via Zoom to jointly think through the following text:

Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2014). R-words: Refusing research. Humanizing research: Decolonizing qualitative inquiry with youth and communities, 223, 248. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781544329611


Research is a dirty word among many Native communities (Tuhiwai Smith, 1999), and arguably, also among ghettoized (Kelley, 1997), Orientalized (Said, 1978), and other communities of overstudied Others. The ethical standards of the academic industrial complex are a recent development, and like so many post–civil rights reforms, do not always do enough to ensure that social science research is deeply ethical, meaningful, or useful for the individual or community being researched. Social science often works to collect stories of pain and humiliation in the lives of those being researched for commodification. However, these same stories of pain and humiliation are part of the collective wisdom that often informs the writings of researchers who attempt to position their intellectual work as decolonization. Indeed, to refute the crime, we may need to name it. How do we learn from and respect the wisdom and desires in the stories that we (over) hear, while refusing to portray/betray them to the spectacle of the settler colonial gaze? How do we develop an ethics for research that differentiates between power—which deserves a denuding, indeed petrifying scrutiny—and people? At the same time, as fraught as research is in its complicity with power, it is one of the last places for legitimated inquiry. It is at least still a space that proclaims to care about curiosity. In this essay, we theorize refusal not just as a “no,” but as a type of investigation into “what you need to know and what I refuse to write in” (Simpson, 2007, p. 72). Therefore, we present a refusal to do research, or a refusal within research, as a way of thinking about humanizing researchers.

This event is co-organized by Taraf Abu Hamdan and Carolina Bertazolli.