Racialised minority as the researcher: Challenging epistemological violence

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This presentation deals with the racialized other as a researcher with a point of departure in the epistemological violence in social sciences (Teo, 2010). Epistemological violence implies indirect and nonphysical violence when the subject of violence is the researcher, the object is the other, and the action is the data interpretation problematizing- and showing the other as inferior, even when data allow for equally viable alternative interpretations. This violence can be countered when the other, the racialized minority is the researcher. However, there may be other consequences, some negative, to this position underlining the power differentials and dynamics.
The study ‘Danes Are Like That’ (1993) conducted by Indian professor of anthropology Reddy demonstrated that the Rest could study the West. However, the study initially received harsh, critical comments by Danish scholars and later ignored. Similarly, results of ‘Youth relationship, ethnicity and psychosocial intervention, a doctoral study by an Indian origin researcher (Singla, 2004) received some attention by the academic community regarding the ethnic minority youth, while the results about Danish youth were just overlooked.
These examples lead to questioning of overlooking such research. Moreover, this ‘gaze’ by the minority researcher unravels power relations and knowledge production, disturbs the dominating power structure in the academia, which is historically based on White Western ideologies defining experiences, possibilities and limitations of minorities in these contexts.
Strategies for moving forward such as creating spaces for equal participation, collaborating across the geographical and ethnic borders, are presented. We are open for further strategies and discussions with the workshop participants.


KonferenceThe 20th Nordic Migration Research Conference and the 17th Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) conference University of Helsinki, Finland, on January 11–14, 2021, under the theme of

Colonial/Racial Histories, National Narratives and Transnational Migration


  • Epistemological violence implies indirect and nonphysical
  • the action is the data interpretation
  • problematising- an d showing the other as inferior
  • Danes Are Like That’ ( Reddy, 1993)
  • ‘Youth relationship, ethnicity and psychosocial intervention Singla, 2004
  • unconventional gaze
  • disturbs the dominating power structure in academia

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