From research to relationship : towards affinity-based scholarship and indigenous community empowerment
Decades of technocratic development projects have been shown to mostly fail at reducing poverty. In response, decentralizing initiatives focused on community and local empowerment have become a strong trend. However, analysis of pros and cons discussed in community-related literature demonstrates a claim for the necessity of government hierarchical structures to assist with development. In this study, I contend that there could be another way for communities to access the resources they need without resorting to the vertical linkages of government assistance, drawing from an anarchist theoretical tradition. My alternative model suggests that institutions of knowledge could serve as facilitators of both resources and horizontal connections. To examine this possibility, I have looked at the world of universities and the researchers who work for them. My focus has also been narrowed to Indigenous communities and professors who are associated with these marginalized groups. Specifically, I discuss Drs. Hobbs and Larsen and their experiences with their respective groups, as well as the Maori people and several Indigenous scholars, including Dr. Palmer. In addition to exploring the potential embedded in these situations, I also interrogate the barriers that may hinder this potential, for the institutions, the communities, and the individuals. My research suggests some interesting possibilities, though not exactly the ones I imagined, and some further application of anarchist theories.
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