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2.1 Methodological Influences

Social change researcher, Park (1993), maintains that research paradigms, knowledge and evidence fall into three main groupings: the instrumental, interactive and critical paradigms. The instrumental paradigm is characterised by scientific, positivist, quantitative knowledge that is concerned with controlling physical and social environments. Constructivist, ethnographic and qualitative knowledge generated from lived experience, focusing on understanding the connections amongst people, influences the interactive paradigm. In contrast, the critical paradigm is drawn from reflective knowledge, such as that derived from feminist, indigenous and queer theory. It is concerned with societal structures and

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power relations and how they contribute to creating and perpetuating oppression.

Critical approaches in effect raise consciousness about the causes of problems and the means to alleviate them. The interactive and critical paradigms are predominately drawn upon within this study with emphasis on the latter.

In this section, I explicitly examine the disciplines of activist scholarship, feminist, kaupapa Māori theory, Pākehā Tiriti work and various branches of critical theory as methodological influences.

Activist Scholarship

I place my work within the tradition of radical, politically engaged scholarship...

My work is grounded in the politics, practices and languages of the various communities I come from, and the social justice movements to which I am committed (Thobani, 2008, p. 209).

Activist scholarship is founded on the traditions of action and participatory research but argues for the mutual intersection of research and political action to challenge existing power relations. Feminist scholars, Sudbury and Okazawa-Rey (2009, p. 3), define it as “…the production of knowledge and pedagogical practices through active engagement with and in the service of progressive social movements”. They maintain that activist scholarship is an attempt to resist neo-liberal commodification of higher education where knowledge is valued for its ability to generate revenue and state power rather than its ability to promote a more just, humane world.

Activist scholars reject what anthropologist, Hale (2008, p. 3), describes as the

“privilege-laden option to remain outside the fray”. As Cherokee activist, Smith (2009, p. 37) maintains it is not mutually exclusive to be both an activist and a scholar and that research can be used to either maintain the status quo or advance a social justice agenda. The accountability of activist scholars to social movements and the communities with whom they work is fundamental to the approach. Collaboration intent and practice, informed horizontal dialogue between activists and scholars, alongside egalitarian distribution of the benefits from research lie at the heart of activist scholarship. Hale (2008, p. 4) explains:

…activist scholars work in dialogue, collaboration, alliance with people who are struggling to better their lives; activist scholarship embodies a responsibility for results that these “allies” can recognize as their own, value in their own terms, and use as they see fit.

Kaupapa Māori theorist, Cram (1997, p. 11) makes the interesting distinction between procedural and outcome empowerment. Procedural empowerment she suggests is transient and occurs when research participants feel valued and heard and that participating in the research process was worthwhile. Outcome empowerment, which is more enduring, emerges when successful social and

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political action occurs because of that research. She maintains that, if the participants own the research, this social the researcher and/or the community can lead change action. Activist scholars, Back and Solomos (1993) and Neal (1995) maintain the challenge is how to move past anti-racism rhetoric and intent into social change outcomes.

Emphasis on collaborative practice, clear accountability arrangements and the focus on achieving social change outcomes marks this study as an example of activist scholarship. My research questions and methodology have been influenced and shaped by horizontal dialogue with both those targeted by racism and activists working to transform it.

Feminist Methodologies

There is more than political analysis involved in a commitment to anti-racism:

the heart and spirit are also involved... While my feminism is rooted in my own passion for self-determination as a woman, my involvement in anti-racism stretches me beyond a simple perception of self-interest to a more complex connection with other women

(D. Jones, 1992, p. 297).

Rather than one monolithic feminist standpoint Olesen (2005) and Kirby, Greaves and Reid (2006) maintain there is plurality of feminist positions on how to achieve collective social and economic transformation for women. For instance, indigenous feminists often maintain they have more in common with indigenous men than white feminists (Awatere, 1984). Bowles and Klein (1983, p. 122) in their often cited text on feminist theory have identified various common features across value-laden feminist methodologies. These include a commitment to integrating praxis and research a rejection of objectivity and embracing conscious partiality a belief in the value of consciousness-raising and a commitment to pursue social justice.

In keeping with feminist traditions (D. Jones, 1992; Lather, 1989, August) I recognise all research comes from a particular viewpoint whether declared or not but I choose to make explicit my chosen standpoint. Being a feminist for me means recognising the interconnections of oppression and the differential burden of disadvantage on groups of women. It means discerning that patriarchy and systemic racism are more complex than the isolated sexist and racist acts of individual people, that they are part of an oppressive system. Being a feminist for me involves being self-reflective enough to know that the ‘personal is political’

(see Firestone & Koedt, 1970) and that as a Pākehā woman I am a beneficiary of colonisation, a person of privilege. It is these learning’s that have led me to become a Tiriti worker, committed to working towards the decolonisation of Aotearoa.

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Beyond the invaluable critical tools of structural analysis, feminist theory has also taught me the value of everyday lived experiences as a source of knowledge and theory. My life as a woman who has experienced discrimination, violence and privilege gives me some insights into the dynamics of oppression and I hold this as valid knowledge to draw on within a research process. Emotionally engaged feminist research traditions as outlined by Blakely (2007) also provide frameworks to share normal human responses of the heart and spirit to difficult issues. One of the ways this narrative can be made visible is through the inclusion of inter-texts as demonstrated by Lather and Smithies (1997) in their unique post-modern text, Troubling the Angels: Women Living with HIV/AIDS.

Feminist theory has influenced my choice of topic, gives me permission to be both political and emotional, with a history and culture that transparently influences research process. It also ensures the voices of women are consistently present in my writing.

Pākehā Tiriti Work Traditions

The purpose of this [Pākehā Tiriti] work is to resource people to create a society based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, founded on sustainable use of resources and communal need, and which is consistent with hapū/iwi/whānau localised development (Network Waitangi Otautahi, 2002, p. 214).

Pākehā Tiriti work is strongly influenced by liberation theorists, feminism and the tino rangatiratanga movement. Acting in a supportive role Pākehā Tiriti workers often work in co-intentional relationships with Māori to support: Māori aspirations of tino rangatiratanga, attempt to prevent further breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and work towards achieving constitutional change. Significant energy is also invested in educating and mobilising other Tauiwi to politically engage in processes of decolonisation. Research is increasingly becoming a site of activist activity (see Huygens, 2007; Margaret, 2002).

Central to these traditions (see Herzog, 2002; Huygens, 2001) are attempts at power-sharing. Project Waitangi for instance, Huygens explains (1999, p. 16), was set up to educate Pākehā on treaty issues and operated with a system of Māori monitors to ensure the overall direction and outcomes met the needs of Māori.

This accountability structure was influenced by the writings of Ramsden (2002) on cultural safety, which advocated for non-dominant groups to become the experts and monitor effectiveness. Informal accountability arrangements also frequently exist between individual Pākehā Tiriti workers and local groups and networks. Furthermore, it is unusual for practitioners to operate independently of such a network.

Voluntary ethical guidelines (see Network Waitangi Otautahi, 2002) have been adopted within the movement: emphasising the importance of relationships;

accountability; indigenous control and leadership. These dual accountabilities to

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both Pākehā and Māori ensure a high level of peer review and that interventions are built on prior learnings, as embedded within my approach.

Kaupapa Māori

[A kaupapa Māori orientation] assumes the taken-for-granted social, political, historical, intellectual, and cultural legitimacy of Māori people, in that it is an orientation in which Māori language, culture, knowledge and values are accepted in their own right (Bishop, 2005, p. 114).

Te Awekotuku (1991) and Cram (1993) argue historically many Pākehā researchers have failed to recognise the prevalence of dominant Pākehā cultural lens. Cultural anthropologist, A. Salmond (1985) argues that western epistemologies are the standard by which all forms of knowledge are judged is widespread within New Zealand. However within the dominant group lies a committed group of Pākehā working to transform such ethnocentrism and to establish honourable treaty relationships (Margaret, 2009). Exposure to critical discourses via this network led me to consider the challenge of kaupapa Māori theory.

The core of kaupapa Maori theory as I see it is starting reasoning from a Māori paradigm based within Māori cultural specificities, preferences and practices. The concepts of whānau, whakapapa (genealogy) and whanaungatanga10 are central to this approach (Royal, 1998). Bishop (2005) contends that knowing who you are and being able to acknowledge your connectedness allows you to let go of a focus on self. Kaupapa Māori approaches are often relational and recognise communities as experts in determining their own solutions rather than the researcher assuming the role of ’expert‘. It is widely agreed (R. Jones, Crengle, &

McCreanor, 2006; Moewaka-Barnes, 2000; Pihama, Cram, & Walker, 2002) that kaupapa Māori is embedded within the dynamic realm of tikanga (cultural protocols). The involvement of kaumātua (koroua - male elder and kuia - female elder) within kaupapa Māori research projects is common practice, as elders are the guardians of tikanga and the consensus makers for the collective (Moewaka-Barnes, 2000).

I suggest that kaupapa Māori theory in its contemporary ‘post colonial’ form is strongly aligned with the critical tradition in that it seeks to expose power relations that perpetuate the continued oppression of Māori. This critical analysis is driven by indigenous Māori understandings and the tools of structural analysis.

Pihama, Cram and Walker (2002, p. 10) purport kaupapa Māori is about the

“pushing forward of Māori aspirations and pushing back of Pākehā control and domination”. It is about affirming Māori experience as ‘ordinary’ within Aotearoa. LT Smith (1999) and Pihama et al. (2002) argue that kaupapa Māori research can be a decolonisation process. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and more

10 Whanaungatanga is the process of establishing and maintaining relationships.

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specifically tino rangatiratanga are frequent markers within kaupapa Māori literature (Bishop, 2005). Kaupapa Māori approaches often utilise analysis that locates what is being studied within a wider historical, social, cultural and political context (Keefe et al., 1999).

So where do non-Māori researchers fit into this framework when kaupapa Māori research is in part about challenging the dominance of Pākehā world-views? LT Smith (1996, February) maintains a number of kaupapa Māori theorists have argued that being Māori, identifying as Māori, are all critical elements of kaupapa Māori. Moewaka-Barnes (2000, p. 9), when discussing Tauiwi involvement, warns the challenge of this involvement occurs when “Tauiwi fail to recognise power and methods which spring from their position of ‘normality’ and privilege”. Royal (1998) makes a useful distinction in his writings between mātauranga11 Māori and kaupapa Māori. He contends kaupapa Māori works with a Māori worldview and has political analysis, while mātauranga Māori works with Māori cosmology and is tikanga based. Bishop (2005, p. 113) confirms that for him kaupapa Māori is “research by Māori, for Māori with the help of invited others”. GH Smith (2007; 1992) proposes four potentially overlapping models whereby Pākehā can carry out culturally appropriate research with Māori (see Table 3).

Table 3: Collaborative Pathways for Māori and Pākehā Researchers

Model Description

Tiaki (mentor) Research process is guided and mediated by authoritative Māori.

Whāngai (adoption) Researcher becomes one of the whānau.

Power-sharing Community assistance is sought by the researcher so the research can be meaningfully carried out.

Empowering outcomes Research supplies answers and information Māori want to know.

Note. Adapted from “Research issues related to Māori education,” by G.H. Smith in M. Hōhepa &

G.H. Smith (Eds.), The issue of research and Māori, 1992, p.14-22. Auckland, New Zealand:

Auckland University. Reprinted with permission.

Recognising Royals’ distinction my focus is on kaupapa Māori as opposed to mātauranga Māori. Regarding the later I defer to Māori as the kaitiaki (guardians) of this knowledge. In reviewing GH Smith’s models I describe my approach as one of power-sharing with rigorous Māori monitors/mentors. My intentions are that this research may contribute to efforts to advance Māori aspirations.

Critical Theory

Perhaps the most vital concern of critical theorists is that of emancipation, that theory and practice are indivisible and must be viewed in a dialectic relationship (Pihama, 1993, p. 40).


I align myself to critical theory in that I seek to critique and challenge hegemonic interests to achieve an emancipatory and transformative agenda. Political theorist and philosopher, Gramsci (1975/2010), reminds researchers to be alert to the

11 Mātauranga refers to traditional Māori knowledge.

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inequitable power of social relations and the hegemonic depictions of this as natural and inevitable. I am interested in breaking through taken-for-granted views of the world in order to step outside hegemonic paradigms to look with critical eyes back into the neo-colonial system. It is about developing a fresh perspective that calls into question the violently mundane bureaucratic system. As Thomas and Veno (1996, p. 89) argue, a major source of power for dominant groups is simply “the routine application of effectively unchallenged assumptions of social institutions” which support their privilege.

Critical theorists frequently argue that privileged groups have an interest in supporting the status quo to protect their advantage. They also have the resources that allow them to promote ideologies and representations in ways individuals and groups without privilege cannot. Philosopher, Foucault (1969/2002) argues that language is not a neutral description of the ‘real world’, rather language in the form of discourses and discursive practice has a set of tacit rules that regulate what can and cannot be said. These rules signal who can speak with the blessings of authority and whose constructions are considered unimportant. These power discourses, according to cultural theorist, Hall (2007), provide a way of representing and privileging a particular kind of knowledge about a topic and restrict the other ways in which a topic can be constructed.

Knowledge, ‘commonsense’ and consciousness, according to critical theorists, are therefore contested sites of resistance (M. Stoddart, 2007). Aligned to the critical tradition I am drawn to explore difficult and uncomfortable issues of privilege and structural inequality to destabilise power relations, generate equity and minimise the barriers to indigenous sovereignty. I embrace an attitude that opens up what critical theorist Kincheloe (2008, p. 60), calls ‘the discourse of possibility’. I believe there is a dialectical relationship between human beings and concrete historical and cultural realities, and therefore it is possible to influence and re-shape our environment, social and political institutions.

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Critical Race Theory

A critical race theory challenges ahistoricism and the unidisciplinary focus of most analyses and insists on analyzing race and racism by placing them in both historical and contemporary contexts (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002, pp. 26-27).

Originating in the United States, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is primarily concerned with studying racism, how it has been created and maintained, and reshaping power relations. Rejecting notions of racism as “…an intentional albeit irrational, deviation by a conscious wrongdoer”, Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller and Thomas (1995, p. xiv) in their landmark text on CRT, maintain racism is systemic and ingrained. They maintain libertarian discourses of ‘colour-blindness’ and meritocracy, mask enduring power differentials that remain unaddressed by the temporary gains of the civil rights movement.

Solórzano and Yosso (2002, p. 25) identify several common themes across CRT.

These include race and critical consciousness, linkages between racism and other forms of oppression, a commitment to both social justice and challenging the dominant ideology, a valuing of experiential knowledge and a multi-disciplinary approach. Delgado and Stefancic (2001) emphasise the importance of context within CRT and the detail of the lived experiences of marginalised peoples. Ford and Airhihenbuwa (2010) concur regarding the primacy of explicitly incorporating the knowledge of minorities and highlight the attempts of CRT to expand the vocabulary for discussing racial phenomenon.

Storytelling is often used within CRT as a mechanism to examine myths, assumptions, and received wisdoms and is an intricate part of the method of this study. A distinction is made between master narratives or majoritarian stories and counter storytelling (Gillborn, 2006, p. 24). Master narratives according to Solórzano and Yosso (2002, p. 27) encourage cultural deficit thinking by promoting one-dimensional stereotypes and the notion of collective cultural

‘failure’. These narratives are not often questioned by the dominant group as they are considered ‘natural and normal’.

Counter storytelling in contrast is used to challenge hegemonic discourses. It involves presenting the stories of people whose experiences are not often told.

The counter narrative is a way to expose, analyse and challenge master narratives and racial privilege. These stories are sometimes told directly in the first person from the researcher’s experience, in the third person by retelling someone else’s story or through composite stories, a combination of several people’s stories. The stories deliberately utilise ‘real-life’ experiences inclusive of emotion, while empirical data and literature are used to contextualise these experiences.

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