Moving on to Create Equality, Inclusion in the Communities: The Unconventional Gaze

Rashmi Singla, Berta Vishnivitz

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Inspired by participation in a workshop focused onstructurally disadvantaged groupsconducting research in a global North context (Shinozaki & Osanami Törngren, 2019), we plan toexplore more comprehensively, the dynamics involved in applying an unconventional gaze, bothin research by minority researchers and in questioning the “White Curriculum” in academicprogram.Our approach is informed by Said’s notion of Orientalism (Said, 1977) which identifiesexaggerated differences between the East/ South & West/ North, and a perception of the Otheras exotic, backward, uncivilized. However, we take this perspective further in order to ensurethat minority’s voices are listened to. We also include the concept of epistemological violence inthe empirical social sciences (Teo, 2010). This implies indirect and nonphysical violence whenthe subject of violence is the researcher, the object is the Other, and the action is the datainterpretation showing the inferiority or problematising the other, even when data allow forequally viable alternative interpretations. What happens when the Other - the racialised minority- is the researcher or when the “White Curriculum“ is criticised?The colonial history of racialised minorities is invoked in unpacking the contested multiplepositions of the minority researcher, especially in conducting research about the privileged majority groups. Historical colonisation processes are examined in a critical review of the “Whitecurriculum” in specific Nordic contexts, which hardly includes the perspectives of the racialisedminorities and indigenous populations. Furthermore, concrete illustrations of questioning ofentitlement of unconventional researchers e.g. Indian anthropologist Reddy’s classical study ofDanish Society (1991) are included. The implications of the unconventional ‘gaze’ on powerrelations and knowledge production illustrate how immigration, the challenges of adaptation,criteria for mental health diagnosis and citizenship laws are historically based on White Westernideologies and the role they play in shaping and defining some experiences, possibilities andlimitations of racialized immigrants and indigenous/ native people in diverse contexts. Movingforward, beyond these problematisations is also a part of the workshop.The format of the workshop is partly open. We aim for an unconventional workshop form, whichcombines individual presentations and designated discussants followed by interactive roundtable discussions. After short presentations, we would like to open the discussion to theaudience. We also investigate possibilities of collecting the presentations and discussions for areflective paper and possible publication.


Conference20th Nordic Migration Research Conference and the 17th Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) Conference
Number20 + 17
LocationOnline (University of Helsinki)
OtherUniversity of Helsinki, Finland,
Internet address

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