Beyond the Partnership Debate: Localizing Knowledge Production in Refugee and Forced Migration Study
There is a growing recognition in refugee and forced migration studies that research partnerships, especially those that cross geographies of the global North and global South, are both a blessing and a potential curse. They are a blessing as they encourage new approaches to the co-creation of knowledge, build solidarity networks, and leverage support for scholars based in the global South. But they can also be a curse as they typically function within and can inadvertently reproduce deeply embedded structures of inequality. Drawing on the results of a review of forced displacement research centres based in the global South and interviews with the directors of these centres, this article encourages a shift from focusing on research partnerships to an approach that supports the localization of knowledge production in refugee and forced migration studies. This approach seeks to change the structures of knowledge production, including direct funding to researchers and research centres based in the global South, an emphasis on the transfer of power to researchers in the South, a recognition of the diverse forms and sources of knowledge produced within the field, and an appreciation for the diverse understandings of success and impact across contexts.