"To Be Without a Home, like a Rolling Stone": Tensions and Negotiations in Collaborative Knowledge Production in Morocco and the 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 question: Through what ways can you “become a native” in contexts where “at home” and “abroad” are fragmented and continually shifting concepts?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association: Interventions: Communication Research and Practice - San Diego, San Diego, United States
Duration: 25 May 201729 May 2017
Conference number: 67


Conference67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association
LocationSan Diego
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address

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