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Negotiating cultural appropriation while re-imagining co-production via Afrofuturism

Eseonu, T and Duggan, J (2021) Negotiating cultural appropriation while re-imagining co-production via Afrofuturism. Qualitative Research Journal. ISSN 1443-9883

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of claims of cultural appropriation in negotiating who has the right to utilise specific racial, cultural or communities' ways of knowing in research co-production. Cultural appropriation is a claim made against those making illegitimate use of traditions, knowledge and practises that originate from specific racial and/or cultural group. Appropriation helps us interrogate the ways in which rewards and benefits in academia are distributed and shared, denied or hoarded, and by whom. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is a dialogue between two researchers in the in-betweens of research co-production, specifically in the negotiation of claiming the right to lead or engage in Afrofuturist work with communities. Findings: The claim of cultural appropriation is useful in naming, drawing boundaries and creating spaces for negotiation around access and ownership of academic work but must also develop as part of a broader transformative agenda towards racial equality in academia. Research limitations/implications: In addition to ethical considerations about power imbalances and extractive practises, research co-production should also be concerned with acknowledging and crediting knowledge production practises that originate from specific racial and/or cultural groups. Originality/value: This is the first paper to explore issues of cultural appropriation in research co-production, and co-production in relation to Afrofuturism. This extends ethical concerns on research co-production beyond academic power imbalances with, and extracting value from, communities to negotiating the relationships between academics and traditions, knowledge and practises developed by specific racial and/or cultural groups.

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