62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Constructing Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies
Looking at Western research practices from the �underside� of a positivist paradigm deeply entrenched and diffused throughout public and private educational, governmental, and corporate tentacles, Linda Tuhiwai Smith is a Maori (New Zealand) intellectual presenting a counter-methodological narrative stemming from a collective indigenous historical cynicism...
Published on April 15, 2003 by Chicano Loco de la Frontera Aztlan
Published 3 hours ago by Mara Hodges
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Constructing Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies,
Looking at Western research practices from the �underside� of a positivist paradigm deeply entrenched and diffused throughout public and private educational, governmental, and corporate tentacles, Linda Tuhiwai Smith is a Maori (New Zealand) intellectual presenting a counter-methodological narrative stemming from a collective indigenous historical cynicism and whose voice bespeaks the refusal to be objectified by an inherently racist and imperialist mode of constructing knowledge and re-presentations of non-Western peoples. Deconstructing Western research paradigms is simply an act of defiance and resistance for Smith, particularly since she constructs a radical alternative methodology rooted in self-determination, social justice, intellectual property rights, and active participation in all knowledge-making, contributions to the research processes, and dissemination of �findings�. The exigency of articulating a research methodology aimed at critical praxis for Western and non-Western peoples interested in indigenous issues emerges at a point where globalization and neo-liberal imperial practices and investments are opening new spaces for the unilateral and/or predominant benefit of Western research regimes that continue capitalizing and objectifying indigenous peoples through racist and incorrigible projects that erase human dignity, i.e. Human Genome Diversity Project.
The book can strategically be divided into two main sections: the first section explores the contemporary and historical legacy of an imperial tryst between Western scientific, economic, and ideological formations shaping relations with alterity (Chapters 1-5); the second section outlines a radical alternative methodology for conducting research on indigenous peoples and issues (Chapters 6-9). The first chapter reveals the �Enlightenment� and positivist threads that weave imperialism, history, writing, and theoretical practices that continue to shape current research and socio-political policies on an international level. Smith states: �research within late-modern and late-colonial conditions continues relentlessly and brings with it a new wave of exploration, discovery, exploitation, and appropriation� (24). Deconstructing the historical legacy of imperial practices is also a call for rewriting and rerighting history with indigenous perspectives. The second chapter outlines the Baconian processes by which Westerners come to view the world as a standing reserve of objects for empirical inquiry, discursive appropriation, and mimetic comportment processes aimed at subjugating and �controlling� nature and indigenous peoples with an intellectual will to power stemming from racist ideologues who trace some form of theoretical lineage back to Bacon, Kant, Hegel, Hume and others. Borrowing from Stuart Hall, this process moves from classification of the world and others, to collapsing images for a convenient system of representation, to presenting a reified model for comparative analysis, and, finally, establishing criteria for hierarchical positionality. Chapter three delves further into deconstructing research, as viewed through imperial eyes, and how this methodology produced a self-perpetuating apparatus comprised of multifarious disciplines for the construction and future survival of colonial �knowledge� and all those who invest in these truth regimes that purport to be �universal�, �neutral�, objectively sound, and constructed on a foundation of �absolute certainty�.
Chapter four and five highlight many instances of how imperial research regimes continue to invest in the discursive and �scientific� construction, re-presentation, and exploitation of indigenous peoples for profit and social control. The globe has become one large information colony where research is the means to inscribe social and ideological control and Westernized fabrications of history on the backs of indigenous peoples around the world. The most infamous example of how the imperial research regime continues to exist is through scientific projects stemming from private corporate entities mainly subsidized by governments. The Human Genome Diversity Project attempts to subjugate indigenous peoples by mapping and reifying DNA and possessing it as �intellectual property� for future use. The attempt to patent the genetic make-up of the Hagahai people (New Guinea) by the U.S. government is indisputable proof of how these scientific projects threaten the future, autonomy, and human rights of indigenous peoples.
The second part of the book focuses on constructing an indigenous alternative to decolonize indigenous peoples from Western regimes of research based on emergent tribal social issues, practices, and beliefs. The center of this decolonizing project is constructed through Polynesian metaphors of �space-time�. The center of social activity and identity is an archipelago comprised of self-determination in terms of tribal autonomy on a social, economic, and research level, as well as the full participation in inter-tribal and inter-national relations. Healing, decolonization, transformation, and mobilization are the four main �directions� that frame the spaces of this project. Survival, recovery, and development are the main �tides� that connect and transform all directionality of the project. This methodology is intended to transform indigenous peoples from passive objects in Western research to active-participants in an indigenous process of reconfiguring themselves and the world around them. Respect becomes the main affective principle for the survival of indigenous peoples and the project: �through respect, the place of everyone, and everything in the universe is kept in balance and harmony�the denial by the West of humanity to indigenous peoples, the denial of citizenship and human rights, the denial of the right to self-determination�all these demonstrate palpably the enormous lack of respect which has marked the relations of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples� (120). Without respect, there is no dignity.
Chapter seven outlines a means of articulating such a project to indigenous and non-indigenous peoples and the challenges associated with it. Chapter eight provides a list of current indigenous research projects. Chapter nine provides a case study of the Maori peoples in which the method outlined in chapter six was put into practice. Chapter ten details with the methodological transformation of passive objects to active agents and lists tactics for strengthening and sustaining critical research for decolonizing processes.
Generally, when the researched become researchers, self-determination and healing can take place, communities can create and control research processes and the subsequent naming of the world, and they can define their relationship with others and the environment.
If a critical theroetical/methodological �flaw� or problematic of this decolonial methodology exists, it might come to presence from a post-structural disdain for outlining a process by which people can �liberate� themselves from Western imperialist research regimes. But then again, post-structural thought is mainly a Western construction and/or response to
'modernity' and its discontents.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - a must read !!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Hardcover)
Linda Tuhiwai Smith captures the essence of the space that is between 'a rock and a hard place' for Maori who engage in research within the academy and the frameworks of western theorisms. She clearly and articulately explores not only this position but also the pathways beyond it. As we engage in the business of contributing to still growing body's of indigenous ways of knowing and doing it is important that we critique our own relative positions as both indigenous and colonised peoples as powerful and purposeful. Linda has set the scene for fabulous things to happen.
I have already loaned this book to others and recommended that the others who want it buy it ! Better be quick - they are disappearing from the shelves as you read !!
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, must-read,
By A Customer
Tuhiwai Smith's masterpiece is a must-read for any discipline. Her work questions the most basic assumptions upon which academic research lies; her influence is widely felt in fields as diverse as anthropology, social work, women studies, film studies, indigenous studies, psychology, history, sociology, and ethnic studies. Smith is the Fanon of the indigenous world, and the contemporary academic cannot afford to miss her work.
The chapters are absorbing and surprisingly straight-forward for theory, and can be read separately or in sequence. The work is accessible enough for undergraduate students, but rich enough to serve as a valuable addition to the graduate student's bookshelf.
She reaches both Native and non-Native audiences, and concludes her work with indiginizing projects that detail real alternatives to current practices. An investment you will not regret!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read!,
I first read this book for a course in Sociocultural Theory in Anthropology. It has stayed on my shelf ever since. Linda Tuhiwai Smith provides insight and deeply meaningful commentary on the field of social research and its place in the indigenous community. This work should be required reading of all students in the social sciences.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why not 'Decolonizing Epistemologies'?,
`Decolonizing Methodologies' is written by someone who grew up within indigenous communities, `where stories about research and researchers intertwined with stories about all forms of colonialism and injustice' (p. 2). This book contains ten chapters ; it, however, could be divided in two major parts. The first part challenges the history and legacy of the cultural assumptions behind research and knowledge of colonial culture. Tuhiwai Smith, in the first part of her book, adopts a feminist and critical theory framework to challenge Western paradigm of research and knowledge production. She claims that the term research is linked to European imperialism and western colonialism and `is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world's vocabulary' (p. 1). Referring to some prominent (and deconstructed) questions of Spivak (1990) , i.e. who should speak ... and who will listen? , the major critical and indigenous based questions that cover and direct the subject matter of the book are: Whose research is it? Who owns it? Whose interests does it serve? Who will benefit from it? Who has designed its questions and framed its scope? Who will carry it out? Who will write it up? How will its result be disseminated? (p. 9-10). Furthermore, The author Smith presents two fundamental questions in the first chapter of book; `is history important for indigenous peoples' (p. 29), `is writing important for indigenous peoples' (p. 35).
Tuhiwai Smith's work draws from a number of renowned figures in critical tradition and particularly in emancipatory theory. Foucault, Said, Freire, Marx, and Thiong have had a greater influence on Tuhiwai Smith's work and her `emancipatory goals'. It is, however, obvious that the Freire's (1971) notions of `oppressor/ oppressed' and `colonizer/ colonized' and Foucault's notions of `imperialism', `power' and `knowledge' are central in Decolonizing Methodologies. In other words, drawing upon some numerous indigenous scholars and figures such as Thiong (p. 19, 36), Michel Foucault (p. 2, 44, 54), Edward Said (p. 2, 25, 60), and Paulo Freire (p. 81, 157) , `decolonizing Methodologies' basically is an emancipatory work. Because it presents a specific emancipator goal for an oppressed indigenous community. On the other hand, the emancipation of indigenous research and knowledge in the hands of imperialist regimes of power/ knowledge is the major emancipator goal of Linda Tuhiwai Smith.
The oppression of native peoples and challenging the imperial world view, and scientism is most significant ontological critique of the Decolonizing Methodologies. Epistemologically Tuhiwai Smith challenges the research and knowledge production linked to the age of imperialism; addressing the social issues of indigenous peoples is the key alternative of decolonizing methodologies (p.163, 185). In other words, Tuhiwai Smith criticizes the theory of knowledge known as empiricism and `the scientific paradigm of positivism which is derived from empiricism. As a matter of fact, the epistemological concerns of Decolonizing Methodologies are shared colonized people and attempts of colonized people to address western disciplines of knowledge. Overall, `research through `imperial eyes' and what it means to be an `other' and the methodologies that tend to destroy the indigenous people identities are the key epistemological concerns that Tuhiwai Smith has attempted to clarify in the first part of her work.
In the second part of the book, Tuhiwai Smith argues the need to construct critical methodologies drawn from diverse traditions for `setting a new agenda for indigenous research' (p.107). Methodologically the emancipator perspective and message of second part of book is that when indigenous peoples become the researchers and indigenous priorities and problems are researched by indigenous peoples, the activity of research and knowledge production is transformed (pp. 4, 38, 163, 192-3, 199 etc). In addition, in the second part of book the authors argues that research regarding indigenous communities `must' be done by indigenous people and just an anti-colonial methodology works for conducting indigenous research problems and concerns. Tuhiwai Smith points out that in the new century indigenous peoples will continue to defend and seek to protect indigenous knowledges and cultures (p. 105).
The bottom line:
Although `small' and easy to read, Decolonizing Methodologies is strong and `precious'! Furthermore, it could be (and is) a very reliable source in designing and carrying out research in the area of indigenous issues and critical pedagogy. At the end, however, I am of the opinion that one simple question remains to be more discussed: What is really the potential and tangible benefit of `indigenous knowledge' for indigenous people (or community)?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important Contribution,
Smith provides a coherent and detailed alternative perspective for those researching in fields related to indigenous populations. She presents both a theoretical framework and offers very practical suggestions. I have found great value not only in what Smith presents but also in following up readings through those she references. I believe this is a necessary book on any shelf of those involved in such study.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars decolonizing project should be bear in mind,
Linda Tuhiwai Smith is absolutely right in describing the fact that as many indigenous persons have themselves become the "researcher", or become "educated" "scholar", they seem to be even farther from their cultures and their peoples. They learned to be "qulified" scholars in their disciplines, for example. being neutral and objective in doing research, without realizing these kinds of methodologies are themselves value-added.
This book offers an insight that indigenous researches should be done (either by indigenous or non-indigenous people) with a poltical project, aiming at the decolonization and self-determination of indigenous peoples.And to do so, we need to deliberately review and examine the essence and the politics of the so claimed "scientific" methodologies.
This work is inspiring for both researchers and activists.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read on Decolonizing our academic system!,
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This book had me think about what Decolonizing even meant. Why should we think about decolonizing methodologies? I ended up enjoying and learning more from this book then any others in my methodology course I am taking now. It is written in easy to understand English without too much academic gobbledygook.I would like to hear Linda speak sometime. I do feel she has much to give all of us. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand more about how colonizing has effected our academic world.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner!,
Refreshing, well-resourced and useful discussion of methodological dilemmas of indigenous researchers and researchers from non-dominant communities. Smith's essays are well-written, provocative and informed by social justice politics. Must read for graduate students in American Studies, Women's Studies and Social Justice/Labor Studies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why white researchers must read this book.,
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This review is from: Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Paperback)
Brilliantly written by a Maori academic and educator who has been around social research for a long time. Congratulations on what was a thought-provoking, well set out, practical, useful and deeply considered book. Seriously amazing! No doubt a fantastic resource for Maori and Aboriginal researchers. Will be recommending to all non-Indigenous researchers as compulsory reading because this challenges every deeply held, colonial belief we have about ourselves and our research. Thank you Professor Tuhiwai Smith.
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Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Paperback - May 15, 2012)