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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.103

Methodological considerations on researching solidarity



Primary authors


I will discuss certain methodological issues raised in the study of groups which engage in the promotion of migrant's self-organisation and for whom solidarity is a key principle of their approach. ​Doing research with social movements involves working closely with activists, following their categories of knowledge, and remaining open to being guided throught the re-definition of the world they offer. Self-reflection, sensibility, emotional affection function as valuable qualities for understanding the meanings that movements ascribe to their actions. But are these qualities enough? ​Doing research under the label of 'solidarity' has certain political and moral implications for all parties involved, namely activists, migrants and researchers. In which ways do our interlocutors discuss 'solidarity' and how is this reflected in their practices? What are the ethical dilemmas one faces when the researched groups are comprised of various sub-groups, each with its own voice? How, in the end, is the story to be told? ​I will tackle these issues by referring to my own field of research in Greece. I will discuss various methodological concerns that emerge when examining different voices within groups which at times compete over certain ideas of solidarity and solidarity driven practices. Engaging in activists' political and moral demand for 'change' invites researchers to simultaneously remain aware of their own standpoints, while also taking into consideration the specific context within which they are researching. In this sense, anthropology can offer a prosperous ground for the co-production of knowledge (Casas-Cortes et al. 2008, Hirai 2015) and for critical learning.