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  • 00:11

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA: Hi, I'm Kakali Bhattacharya.And I am an associate professor at Kansas State University.I teach qualitative methods for the college of education,so I serve as their methodologist.But I end up teaching people thatare outside of the college of education from liberal arts,in fields like sociology, communication studies, familyand marriage therapy, anthropology, and other fields

  • 00:33

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: as well.So today, I wanted to talk about decolonizing approachesto qualitative research.At a rudimentary level, when we think about decolonizing,we have to think about colonizing first.So colonizing, in historical reference,

  • 00:54

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: usually means that a group of people came to another space,took over their land, and told themthat the way they are being is notreally all that good, their way is better,and position themselves as superior to the peoplethat they conquered or invaded.And in the process of doing so, it's not just taking over land.

  • 01:16

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: It's also taking over ways of life as well.So it's taking over education, taking over infrastructure,taking over how they do things, and always positioningthe colonizer's way as better and the native'sway as not as good, not as sophisticated, notas civilized.So there's always this sort of dual relationship,like it's a binary relationship of us versus them,

  • 01:38

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: civilized versus uncivilized.The way it plays in the world of researchis that a while back, during the Enlightenment era,this sort of positional superiority was established.And based on that positional superiority, how we do

  • 01:60

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: research was also established.So what we understand as researchers--the scientific principles or how we collect informationor what we consider data or who can do what research--it's presented as if it's neutral.It's presented as if it doesn't have history.You know, it's presented as if it'sculturally responsive to all people, but it's not.

  • 02:21

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: It's situated from a very colonizing assumptions.So because it's situated from a very colonizing assumptions,when Western researchers do research,they make a lot of mistakes.They create a lot of harm to the groupsthat they are working with.And they misrepresent these groups.And so research has become a bit of a dirty word

  • 02:43

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: to a lot of the people, who have been at the receivingend of that kind of injustices.So decolonizing approaches to researchsort of makes the argument that we have to interrogate--what are these different types of colonizing assumptionsthat people bring into their own research study.And so when we do that interrogation,

  • 03:04

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: it plays on all levels of qualitative research.Well, first, you're going to haveto have a philosophical framing on qualitative research.So the philosophical framing is, well,how are you making assumptions about the world.Like, what is your worldview?What are you bringing to the table?

  • 03:24

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: So, those philosophical framings,if it's coming from a decolonizing perspective,then you're making a perspective that the world hasa history of colonization, which has seepedinto a lot of our spaces, a lot of our entire infrastructures,including education and including research.So that means then, how do you bring a decolonizing

  • 03:45

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: set of world views and what are some of those assumptions?So some of those assumptions wouldbe that the researcher doesn't think that the researcher isan expert in the space.You know, the researcher will haveto get into a very deep, collaborative, respectfulrelationship with the participant.You don't study on the participant.You study with the participant.

  • 04:06

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: The researcher-- even though researcher wants to know,the researcher will respect that there are certain things thatresearcher will never be able to know,or that the participant can completely be in controlof what the researcher can and cannot know and would drawinformation at any given point in time.So there is a lot of humility in posturing,

  • 04:28

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: so that you understand that you'reentering a sacred relationship.You're entering a sacred space whenyou're making that knowledge.When you're designing the study, youwould want to have a set of decolonizing ethics,where the researcher and the participant relationshipsare balanced in terms of powers, so that the researcher doesn't

  • 04:50

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: have all the power and then grant a few little bit of powerto the participant.And then when you are responding and analyzing the data,you want to respond and analyze the datausing the assumptions you brought into the researchin the first place, using your framing,and putting that framing into the data

  • 05:12

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: and bearing that type of way of thinking on your data.So whatever decolonizing assumptionsyou bring to the table, that's what you look at the data with.And that's what you analyze the data with.And as you represent the data, and as you find outhow to report back on the study, youreport back in a way that is responsive to the community

  • 05:34

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: with whom you worked.So instead of imagining a broader academic audienceor a journal academic audience or a conferenceacademic audience, you would wantto imagine the people that you have workedwith as your primary audience.How would you talk to them?How would you present the information to them?And that really switches in termsof how you then report the results of the study.

  • 05:58

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: So that is, in a nutshell, how you might wantto approach decolonizing work.But there are a few caveats that weneed to talk about, because theseare some of the challenges that youmight face in your own thinking and thenin your own argument making, if youare doing this sort of work.

  • 06:20

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: There are some assumptions that who can and cannot dodecolonizing work.So when we think about decolonizing work,we think about all colonization and indigenous folks.And that makes it sound like only indigenousfolks can do decolonizing work.And that may be true to some extent.But what is not true is that the ethics and the responsibility

  • 06:45

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: of questioning colonizing assumptions--shouldn't fall on only one group of people.That's a lot to bear.And that's a lot to put on one group of people,who are already fairly marginalized and oppressedanyway.So there are several ways in which colonizing assumptionscreep into our work.So we can all bring a decolonizing ethic to our work,

  • 07:06

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: even if we're not framing all of our studyfrom a decolonizing perspective.So, what would be the ethics of careif you understand that research hasbeen a colonizing enterprise?So, that maybe one way of framing your workto really heighten and boost the ways in which you thinkabout the ethics of research.

  • 07:27

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: Also, when people do decolonizing research,they do it also from the perspectiveof folks that have been once colonized,but perhaps the colonizer has left their country.But the effect of colonization remains.So in those contexts, it's no longer land struggle,like the indigenous folks might have in North America

  • 07:48

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: or in Australia.But it's a way to understand whatdoes this now mean when we can't go back to the culture we usedto have before and we can kind of seethe damage that some of the colonizers' ways have done.So in that context, that's also the colonizing work.

  • 08:09

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: But that hasn't always been as prominentin the discussions and educational researchin terms of decolonizing work.So, if you're working from that once colonized space--so, if you are and working in the African diaspora,the Caribbean diaspora, in the South Asian diaspora,or even Asian diaspora--then you also possibly could think

  • 08:32

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: about doing decolonizing work.But at the same time, just make sure that youunderstand in what way you're framing that decolonizing work.I have done some of the things that I had stated earlier.I had assumed that my participants are agentic

  • 08:54

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: and my participants and I will work together.I have assumed that I have to give upthe will to know when I'm working with my participants.I often blur languages together in my work.That way, I kind of disrupt the dominance of English language.If my participants speak another language,

  • 09:15

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: I try to bring that to my work instead of continuouslytranslating that.And I give my reasons for that as well.If you are doing decolonizing work,some of the tips and strategies that Iwould offer for you would be that, first, youhave to know like in what sphere of decolonizing work

  • 09:38

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: are you placing yourself.So is your decolonizing work interlocked with landoppression, educational oppression,spiritual oppression.You know, where is this work coming from?If that's not your decolonizing work,maybe you're approaching decolonizing workfrom an ethical perspective.Then, have a really clear sense of what those ethical tenets

  • 09:58

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: would be, even if you are not doing itfrom a philosophical perspective.So what are the tenets that wouldrepresent a decolonial ethic in your study?The other thing to keep in mind--and this is a really solid tip that I've had to deal with--is that just because you're doing the decolonizing work,

  • 10:21

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: doesn't mean that you have arrived.Like, because you know that thereare these colonial assumptions and you want to disrupt them,it doesn't mean that you have arrived.Because, it means that you're goingto have to continuously interrogate yourself.So decolonizing work is like pest control.You just have to keep spraying the pesticide,because it keeps coming back.

  • 10:42

    PROFESSOR KAKALI BHATTACHARYA [continued]: So there has to be a good sort of vigilanceon your own work and your own stanceand on your own assumption, because it'svery easy to slip into those colonial assumptions,because they were never presentedto us as colonial assumptions.They were presented to us as a normal way,in the acultural, neutral way of doing research.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2018

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Cultural relativism, Emancipatory research

Keywords: colonialism; ethics in human subjects research; historic injustice; historical influences; imperialism; language diversity; language dominance; postcolonialism; practices, strategies, and tools; researcher-subject relations ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Kakali Bhattacharya discusses the effects of colonization on research perspectives. Bhattacharya explores how to counter the effects as well as issues involved.

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Learning Decolonizing Methodologies in Qualitative Research

Kakali Bhattacharya discusses the effects of colonization on research perspectives. Bhattacharya explores how to counter the effects as well as issues involved.

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