Tensions and negotiations for NGOs organizing and human rights in Morocco and Western Sahara

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Collaborative knowledge production is a transitory process where ethnographers and activists are involved in a
symbiotic relationship in which they adopt each others’ tools and methods while having different ideological interests (Rabinow, 1977). Activists often attempt to maximize Western “resources” by using ethnographers’ findings for political concerns; their Western status becomes a decoy in activist tactics to attract police interventions. Such tensions increase when the “at-home” setting of the informants reflects the colonial design of nation states. In such instances, “foreign” ethnographers lack a stable “at home/abroad,” “here/there” distinction to fall back on, since the field is a contested site, subject to ongoing negotiations among international regimes. Drawing on fieldwork with activist NGOs in Morocco and the Western Sahara, I will reflect on this conundrum by addressing the questions: Through what ways can an ethnographer “become a native” in contexts where “at home” and “abroad” are fragmented and continually shifting concepts? What are the implications of collaborative knowledge production for Moroccan based activist NGOs?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventWorld Congress of Middle Eastern Studies - University of Seville, Seville, Spain
Duration: 16 Jul 201822 Jul 2018
Conference number: 5


ConferenceWorld Congress of Middle Eastern Studies
LocationUniversity of Seville
Internet address

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