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Intersecting intellects, diverging bodies: ‘joint’ feminist research in the Pacific

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This is a methodological article that explores research practices in the spaces and power structures of collaborative research involving two feminist scholars who are committed to postcolonial ways of working and are also colleagues and friends. Intersectionality is a core principle in our research and teaching and provides us with the basis of collaboration by enabling an ‘analytical sensitivity [which] think[s] about the problem of sameness and difference and its relation to power’ (Cho et al. 2013, 795). At the forefront of our project, its conceptualisation, research design and conduct were the relationships to our research of our embodied selves, those of others in our care and those encountered in fieldwork . These embodied relationships were particularly palpable through the impact of unplanned changes in the fieldwork phase of the project. The purpose of this article is to show the intellectual and practical challenges of dealing with contingencies in a feminist postcolonial research project and the ways in which certain embodied relations are privileged, particularly presence versus absence. We show how intersectional theory and practice alleviated frictions between the materiality of bodies, while also retaining the imperatives of intellectual and relational solidarity and integrity. This underlines the critical importance of a generous embodied feminist politics underpinned by intersectional thinking.
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Keywords: Collaborative research; Pacific; embodiment; feminist methodology; feminist politics; friendship; intersectionality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Political Science, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; 2: Politics and International Relations, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand;

Publication date: December 2, 2018

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