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MACRO: (How) are economic and legal infrastructures said to shape, enable and constrain collaboration at this stage of the research process? What incentives and benefits are said to be part of collaboration at this stage of the research process?

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Angela Okune's picture
August 21, 2018
  • AO: The analysts note that university institutional requirements for junior scholars in social cultural anthro make collaboration difficult. “Collaboration is difficult in cultural anthropology … [becuase] of the accounting system of big science [which] gives individual researchers only partial credit for collaborative work, yet creative collaboration takes much more effort than is required in single authorship.” (383).

  • AO: Analysts note that contemporary translocal political-economic processes (“globalization”) have made it necessary either to develop new methodologies for spanning “scales” of analysis (but see below) or otherwise find- ing “phenomena of connection” (see again below) or to critically recover and adapt appropriate methodologies from our disciplinary ancestors.” (398)

James Adams's picture
August 17, 2018

 

Though Hegel does identify possible benefits of collaboration, these benefits are not described in detail. Rather, the reader is called to think about the possible benefits on their own.

 

“Although it’s not our disciplinary habit, I think it’s worth pondering the possible gains of collaborative improvisation with our peers. A model of collaborative work in which we listen and respond in real time and think through one another’s data in unfinished states, whether in the field or in lab/studio environments (as opposed to symposia or workshops, where we share mostly finished work), could enrich how we produce knowledge and make our concepts portable. Agreeing to agree in collaborative analysis could mirror what we do in the field, with the aim not of supplanting debate and critique but rather advancing a lateral analytic process.”

Hegel portrays the possibility of “anthropologists [being able to] improvise with one another and not only with their interlocutors” as an open question. Two constraints are identified. The first is the traditional “lone wolf” mentality, where the researcher and their audience assume the need to produce anthropology/ethnography individually.

James Adams's picture
August 17, 2018

This post is really all about reciprocity, or rather, the lack-thereof within North-South research relations. The author recognizes that, within the academy, recognition is achieved through publication. Thus, one of the primary incentives of academics all over the world is to publish findings so as to advance their careers and prestige. Given the topic she is addressing (authorship on political violence), there is often an added incentive to address, assuage/attenuate, or at the very least draw attention to the violence being studied. This incentive often transcends the researcher/researched binary, though the character and degree of intimacy of people’s investments in this goal obviously vary in important ways. And, as Bouka argues, this difference in positioning enables structural violence to be perpetuated by the practice of authorship and accreditation. In my understanding, the potential for this violence lies in distinguishing between what counts as “knowledge,” “information,” and “data,” as well as who is seen as having the authority to make such a distinction. In Bouka’s account, scholars and interlocutors from the south are often seen as capable of producing data but require the aid of Western scholars to transform that data into useful information and knowledge. Even when such transformations consist of little more than a mere stamp of approval. To correct/counteract this tendency, she problematizes current discourses around “capacity building” by pushing her readers to recognize and value the extant capacities and current, important analytic contributions being made by diverse scholars, activists, mothers, children, etc. (in other words people) from the “Global South.”

James Adams's picture
August 16, 2018

In their example, Star and Griesemer identified 5 social worlds: those of the university administration of the UC system, professional scientists, social elites (sponsors), amateur scientists or “collectors,” and then local farmers and trappers. These groups had either a shared interest in preserving the local fauna of California (scientists, elites, and amateurs), or were interested in personal gain from making exchanges with others who held that interest (farmers, trappers, the university administrators). The authors describe these groups has inhabiting different “social worlds,” which correspond both with different ways of knowing and different ways of evaluating worth. These diverse worlds shaped the process of data production as the scientists had to come up with a means of disciplining the data practices of others in order to produce the sort of data and forms of exchange that would satisfy these varied values.

            Grinnell, the scientist, was interested in theories of evolution and wanted to advance the idea that the environment was the primary evolutionary force that shaped the development of species. Alexander, the local, wealthy sponsor, was interested in preserving a record of California wildlife that was quickly being lost to the development of new urban centers. The local amateurs also felt the need to create this record, but they had the additional desire to be a part of a scientific project and sought out a means of establishing themselves as worthy scientific contributors. The local farmers and trappers were seeking profit by helping to provide specimens to the former groups in exchange for money or other valuables. The University of California was interested in the museum as a way of adding legitimacy and prestige to their young university system.

 

More conceptually, the authors refuse to reduce collaboration to concensus: “Consensus is not necessary for cooperation nor for the successful conduct of work” (Star and Griesemer 1989, 388). Instead they argue that before scientific problems can be approached and resolved, the diverse actors that “come from different social worlds” must first “establish a mutual modus operandi” (Star and Griesemer 1989, 388). The distinction between consensus and a mutual modus operandi, is that in the latter case, these standardized methods do not need to be understood or valued in the same way.

Angela Okune's picture
August 13, 2018

AO: Not discussed although it is suggested that greater collaboration between economists and psychologists can lead to better policy and “efficiency of interventions” (390)

Angela Okune's picture
August 13, 2018
  • AO: Authors note that attention needs to be paid to external factors like communications channels, governmental initiatives, travel money, intergovernmental science programs, and international politics. They note “regionally based factors such as geopolitics, history, language, and cultural similarity seem to be very important for the collaborative networks.” However they do not incorporate colonialism or Bretton Woods policies that decimated scholarly output in their analysis.

Angela Okune's picture
August 13, 2018
  • AO: “Many publishers and funding agencies have encouraged interdisciplin- ary work in the last twenty years. However, my mentors in graduate school rightly understood that the structure of academic institutions and culture of individual departments still present obstacles to employment for scholars whose specialties do not fit neatly into preexisting, discipline-specific catego- ries of expertise.” (9).

Angela Okune's picture
August 13, 2018

AO: “The increase in open-access journal–university library partnerships (such as in the case of ShareCA and CA’s move to place OJS at Duke Libraries) is a crucial step towards reconfiguring the political economy of scholarly publishing, and potentially towards shaping the future conditions of higher education” (284)

Angela Okune's picture
August 9, 2018
  • AO: The issue of authorship begins even before the actual writing of the paper as the analysts note: “Who is given the opportunity to contribute, and thus potentially qualify as an author, is important.” In other words, who is already centrally part of the project to be able to write the most prominant publication out of it (and be first author). (1961)

  • AO: “In our collaboration, more publications were proposed by Northern researchers. This may have reflected the fact that they were in a more favourable publishing climate, with longer contracts and perhaps less urgency to have major simultaneous involvement in various projects, or in quick sequence.” (1961)

  • AO: The requirement that students’ theses have to comprise ‘work done by themselves’ as an original and significant contribution to the field of study (Phillips & Pugh, 1995) complicates collaboration and attribution of intellectual work done by others in the project. (1962)

  • AO: critiques of publishing infrastructures. Call by Thai interviewees “to measure the value of science with human values, not just with the yardstick of science.’ In other words, he expressed disapproval of the culturally specific way in which Northern reviewers evaluate Southern research.” (1963)

  • AO: Obstacles interviewees found difficult to overcome centred on limited access to information, and the persistent, strong reference to Northern values and yardsticks by international journals when the merits of Southern manuscripts are assessed, which worked to their disadvantage.” (1965)

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