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Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research$
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Donatella della Porta

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719571

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719571.001.0001

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The Ethics of Social Movement Research

The Ethics of Social Movement Research

(p.446) 18The Ethics of Social Movement Research
Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research

Stefania Milan

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a ready-to-use ethical checklist for research on social movements and political contention. It develops around four main “questions,” each representing a challenge to researchers and addressing a distinct ethical side of the research process: the question of relevance of the research to the activist community; the risks for the researched that result from the study of their dissenting practices; the question of power, in recognition of the unbalanced relationship that research establishes between the investigator and the research object; and the issue of accountability towards research objects. Each question is related to one or more phases of the research project, from the selection of research questions to the choice of methods, theory building, and the publication of results. Finally, the chapter calls for a continuous exercise of self-reflection by the researcher, as a mechanism central to an ethical engagement with the realm of activism.

Keywords:   ethics, challenge, relevance, risks, power, unbalanced relationship, accountability, self-reflection, project phases

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