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Situating decolonial strategies within methodologies-in/as practices: A critical appraisal

Allison Hui

2023 United Kingdom

Whilst work on decolonising methodologies has persisted for more than 20 years, engagement remains uneven. Despite rich discussions of indigenous methodologies and decolonial thinking, the challenge of ‘methodological stasis’ remains, as Western knowledges, research practices and methods continue to dominate. This article argues for new critiques and concepts to further decolonial efforts. It first situates a discussion of methodological stasis in considerations of social change, arguing we should attend to the diversity of methodologies when evaluating the extent or direction of change. It then asserts 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 a novel starting point, drawing from practice theories, which foregrounds the interlinking of diverse researching practices and researchers inside and outside academia. Exploring how methodologies-in/aspractices connects to and contrasts with decolonial, postcolonial and feminist contributions, the article 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 resituated 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.

decolonial, decolonising methodologies, feminist methodologies, practice theory, social change