Reflecting on the ethics of PhD research in the Global South: reciprocity, reflexivity and situatedness

Millora, Chris; Maimunah, Siti and Still, Enid. 2020. Reflecting on the ethics of PhD research in the Global South: reciprocity, reflexivity and situatedness. Acta Academica, 52(1), pp. 10-30. ISSN 0587-2405 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper explores ethical issues of reciprocity, reflexivity and situatedness in conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the Global South as part of PhD research projects. Against the backdrop of increasingly bureaucratised doctoral processes, we argue that PhD students occupy a particular terrain that involves continuous navigation of tensions between institutionally-required ethical procedures and ‘situational’ ethical processes in the field. We illustrate these tensions by analysing reflections on our experiences of conducting fieldwork in Indonesia, India and the Philippines. Guided by decolonial and feminist thought highlighting the politics of knowledge (co)production, this paper unpacks the problems of insider-outsider binaries and standardised ethical procedures, and explores the possibilities of ethics as visible, collaborative negotiation.

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The work of Enid Still and Siti Maimunah has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764908.


Research ethics, Ethnography, Doctoral research, Decoloniality, Feminism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


31 July 2020Accepted
28 August 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

02 Aug 2023 12:53

Last Modified:

02 Aug 2023 13:32

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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