Skip to main content
Log in

Disrupting habits of North–South research collaboration: Learning in co-authoring

  • Commentary
  • Published:
The European Journal of Development Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

One of the frequently mentioned manifestations of asymmetrical relationships in North–South research collaboration has been challenges in co-authoring joint international publications. We critically reflect on our attempt to counteract this tendency and analyse a process of producing an edited volume on practices of citizenship in East Africa, which reports selected findings of a four-year collaborative research project between Tanzanian, Ugandan and Finnish academics. The project was based on philosophical pragmatism, and especially John Dewey’s ideas concerning learning as reformulation of habits. Consequently, our reflection of learning presented in this paper draws from the pragmatist notions of habit and disruption. We analyse how some prevalent habits in support of asymmetrical knowledge production emerged and the ways in which we attempted to reformulate them in our own practices by initiating continuous dialogue within the team, introduction of writing retreats and offering short-term fellowships.

Résumé

L'une des conséquences fréquemment évoquées des relations asymétriques dans la collaboration de recherche Nord-Sud est la difficulté de co-rédiger des publications internationales conjointes. Nous menons une réflexion critique sur la façon dont nous tentons de contrer cette tendance et analysons le processus de production d'un volume édité sur les pratiques de la citoyenneté en Afrique de l'Est, qui rend compte d’une sélection de résultats relatifs à un projet de recherche collaboratif de quatre ans entre des universitaires tanzaniens, ougandais et finlandais. Le projet était fondé sur un pragmatisme philosophique, et en particulier sur les idées de John Dewey concernant l’apprentissage comme reformulation des habitudes. Par conséquent, notre réflexion sur l'apprentissage présentée dans cet article s'inspire des notions pragmatistes d'habitude et de perturbation. Nous analysons la façon dont sont apparues certaines habitudes répandues qui favorisent la production asymétrique de connaissances et la façon dont nous avons tenté de les reformuler dans nos propres pratiques en initiant un dialogue continu au sein de l'équipe, en introduisant des retraites d’écriture et en offrant des bourses à court terme.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

References

  • Ahimbisibwe, K.F., A. Ndidde, and T. Kontinen. 2020. Participatory Methodology in Exploring Citizenship: A Critical Learning Process. In Practices of Citizenship in East Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism, ed. K. Holma and T. Kontinen, 159–175. Oxon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Apffel-Marglin, F., and S.A. Marglin (eds.). 1996. Decolonizing Knowledge: From Development to Dialogue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Apffel-Marglin, F., and S.A. Marglin (eds.). 1990. Dominating Knowledge: Development, Culture and Resistance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carbonnier, G., and T. Kontinen. 2015. Institutional Learning in North-South Research Partnerships. Revue Tiers Monde 2015 (221): 149–162.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. 2014. Using Southern Theory: Decolonizing Social Thought in Theory, Research and Application. Planning Theory 13 (2): 210–223.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooke, B. 2003. A new continuity with colonial administration: Participation in development management. Third World Quarterly 24 (1): 47–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooke, B. 2008. Participatory Management as Colonial Administration. In The New Development Management, ed. S. Dar and B. Cooke, 111–128. London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cowen, M.P. and R.W. Shenton. 1996. Doctrines of Development. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dewey, J. 2012. An Introduction to Social Psychology (original 1922). Digireads.com Publishing, printed book version Human Nature and Conduct. New York: Modern Library

  • Escobar, A. 1995. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gunasekera, V. 2020. (Un)packing Baggage: A Reflection of the ‘Battle Over Ideas’ and Labour Hierarchies in Collaborative North-South research. This volume.

  • Holma, K., and T. Kontinen (eds.). 2020a. Practices of Citizenship in East-Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism. Oxon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holma, K., and T. Kontinen. 2020b. Practices and Habits of Citizenship and Learning. In Practices of Citizenship in East-Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism, ed. K. Holma and T. Kontinen, 15–28. Oxon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holma, K., T. Kontinen, and J. Blanken-Webb. 2018. Growth Into Citizenship: Framework for Conceptualizing Learning in NGO Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Adult Education Quarterly 68 (3): 215–234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kilonzo, R. & Kontinen, T. (eds.). 2015. Contemporary Concerns in Development Studies. Perspectives from Tanzania and Zambia. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, Department of Political and Economic Studies, Publications 23.

  • Kontinen, T. & Nguyahambi, A. Forthcoming, 2020. Institutional learning in North–South partnerships: Critical self-reflection on collaboration between Finnish and Tanzanian academics. Forum for Development Studies.

  • Kontinen, T. & Nguyahambi, A. 2018. Reflecting the Identity and Future Directions of Development Studies in Tanzania. Paper Presented in a Working Group Knowledge Production and Decolonization in African and Development Studies, in Nordic Africa Days, Uppsala, 2018.

  • Kontinen, T., E. Oinas, A. Komba, C. Matenga, C. Msoka, R.G. Kilonzo, and M. Mumba. 2015. Developing Development Studies in North-South Partnership: How to Support Institutional Capacity in Academia? In Contemporary Concerns in Development Studies: Perspectives from Tanzania and Zambia, ed. R. Kilonzo and T. Kontinen, 158–167. Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kothari, U. 2005. From Colonial Administration to Development Studies: A Postcolonial Critique of the History of Development Studies. In A Radical History of Development Studies: Individuals, Institutions and Ideologies, ed. U. Kothari, 47–66. London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lorino, P. 2018. Pragmatism and Organization Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Melber, H. 2015. Knowledge is Power - and Power Affects Knowledge: Challenges for Research Collaboration in and with Africa. Africa Development XL (4): 21–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Melber, H. 2019. Knowledge Production, Ownership and the Power of Definition: Perspectives on and from Sub-Saharan Africa. In Building Development Studies for the New Millennium, ed. I. Isa Baud, E. Basille, T. Kontinen, and S. von Itter, 265–287. London: Palgrave.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Morgan, D.L. 2014. Pragmatism as a Paradigm for Social Research. Qualitative Inquiry 20 (8): 1045–1053.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rumens, N. and M. Keleman. (eds.) 2013. American Pragmatism and Organization Studies: Concepts, Theories and Possibilities. In American Pragmatism and Organization. Issues and Controversies, 1–22. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sachs, W. 1992. Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power. London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schöneberg, J. 2019. Imagining Postcolonial-Development Studies: Reflections on Positionalities and Research Practices. In Building Development Studies for the New Millennium, ed. I. Baud, E. Basille, T. Kontinen, and S. von Itter. London: Palgrave.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stitzlein, S.M. 2014. Habits of Democracy: A Deweyan Approach to Citizenship Education in America Today. Education and Culture 30 (2): 61–85.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Strongman, L. 2014. Postcolonialism and International Development Studies: A Dialectical Exchange? Third World Quarterly 35 (8): 1343–1354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sylvester, C. 1999. Development Studies and Postcolonial Studies: Disparate Tales of the “Third World”. Third World Quarterly 20 (4): 703–721.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, M.A.M. 2018. Research Capacity and Dissemination among Academics in Tanzania: Examining Knowledge Production and the Perceived Binary of “Local” and “International” Journals’. Compare A Journal of Comparative and International Education 48 (2): 281–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, S. 2020. A Space for Unlearning? A Relational Perspective on North-South Development Research This volume

  • Ziai, A. 2016. Development Discourse and Global History. From Colonialism to the Sustainable Development Goals. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tiina Kontinen.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kontinen, T., Nguyahambi, A.M. Disrupting habits of North–South research collaboration: Learning in co-authoring. Eur J Dev Res 32, 529–543 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-020-00276-x

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-020-00276-x

Keywords

Navigation