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Situating Decolonial Strategies within Methodologies-in/as-practices: A Critical Appraisal

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/02/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>The Sociological Review
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date13/02/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Whilst work on decolonising methodologies has persisted for more than twenty years, engagement remains uneven. Despite rich discussions of indigenous methodologies and decolonial thinking that supports this transformation, Ndhlovu notes the enduring challenge of ‘methodological stasis’ (2021), where Western knowledges, research practices and methods continue to dominate. This paper argues for the value of new critiques and concepts to further decolonial efforts. It first situates a discussion of methodological stasis in considerations of social change, arguing for the need to consider the diversity of methodologies when evaluating the extent or direction of change. It then argues that though depictions of methodological fractionation support critiques of dominant Western knowledges, they fail to provide new strategies for change. The concept of methodologies-in/as-practices is thus presented as an alternative starting point, drawing from practice theories, which foregrounds the interlinking of diverse researching practices and researchers inside and outside academia. Exploring how methodologies-in/as-practices connects to and contrasts with decolonial, postcolonial and feminist contributions, the paper establishes how this concept supports new trajectories for decolonial thinking and methodological change. It demonstrates how discussions of methodological techniques, philosophies and autobiographies can be critiqued and re-situated through engagement with this concept, producing openings for new decolonial links and interventions. Furthermore, engaging with the case of practice theory methodologies for this critique outlines crucial steps towards decolonising the tradition of work the concept draws upon. Methodologies-in/as-practices is thus shown to support the spiralling work of undoing and redoing, unlearning and relearning central to decolonising methodologies.