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‘We are at war’: Reflections on positionality and research as negotiation in post-2022 Ukraine

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This article presents reflections from hybrid research on expert knowledge production in Ukraine, conducted by the authors in the first year after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Relying on reflexive interviews with representatives of Ukrainian think tanks, our study examined the impact of the war on the roles of Ukrainian experts as knowledge producers and opinion makers in domestic and international settings. Throughout the research, we encountered a range of ethical, emotional, and methodological challenges that prompted us to engage in a (re)negotiation of our positionalities as researchers, including our social identities, perceptions of power relations, and emotions. Through our reflections on these experiences, this article provides insights into the complexities of conducting research in highly volatile and war-torn environments, emphasizing the importance of emotional sensibility and active reflexivity in the ethics of research as intervention.

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  1. For another recent example of an exercise in radical active reflexivity, see Stavrevska et al. (2023).


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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action (Grant number: 847693) and the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO) (Grant number 3F016721) for this work.

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Correspondence to Katsiaryna Lozka.

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Axyonova, V., Lozka, K. ‘We are at war’: Reflections on positionality and research as negotiation in post-2022 Ukraine. J Int Relat Dev 26, 711–721 (2023).

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