‘Capacity for What? Capacity for Whom?’ A Decolonial Deconstruction of Research Capacity Development Practices in the Global South and a Proposal for a Value-Centred Approach.

‘Capacity for What? Capacity for Whom?’ a Decolonial Deconstruction of Research Capacity Development Practices in the Global South and a Proposal for a Value-Centred Approach [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. Wellcome Open Res 2021, 6:129

13 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021 Last revised: 26 May 2021

See all articles by Maru Mormina

Maru Mormina

University of Oxford

Romina Istratii

School of Oriental and African Studies

Date Written: March 15, 2021

Abstract

Whilst North to South knowledge transfer patterns have been extensively problematised by Southern and decolonial perspectives, there is very little reflection on the practice of Research Capacity Development (RCD), still strongly focused on technoscientific solutionism, yet largely uncritical of its underlying normative directions and power asymmetries. Without making transparent these normative and epistemological dimensions, RCD practices will continue to perpetuate approaches that are likely to be narrow, technocratic and unreflexive of colonial legacies, thus failing to achieve the aims of RCD, namely, the equitable and development-oriented production of knowledge in low- and middle-income societies. Informed by the authors’ direct experience of RCD approaches and combining insights from decolonial works and other perspectives from the margins with Science and Technology Studies, the paper undertakes a normative and epistemological deconstruction of RCD mainstream practice. Highlighting asymmetries of power and material resources in knowledge production, the paper’s decolonial lens seeks to aid the planning, implementation and evaluation of RCD interventions. Principles of cognitive justice and epistemic pluralism, accessibility enabled by systems thinking and sustainability grounded on localisation are suggested as the building blocks for more reflexive and equitable policies that promote research capacity for the purpose of creating social value and not solely for the sake of perpetuating technoscience.

Keywords: research capacity development; low- and middle-income countries; science, technology and innovation; knowledge production; cognitive justice; localisation; decolonial reflexivity

Suggested Citation

Mormina, Maru and Istratii, Romina, ‘Capacity for What? Capacity for Whom?’ A Decolonial Deconstruction of Research Capacity Development Practices in the Global South and a Proposal for a Value-Centred Approach. (March 15, 2021). ‘Capacity for What? Capacity for Whom?’ a Decolonial Deconstruction of Research Capacity Development Practices in the Global South and a Proposal for a Value-Centred Approach [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. Wellcome Open Res 2021, 6:129 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3827371 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3827371

Maru Mormina (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Romina Istratii

School of Oriental and African Studies ( email )

Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square: College Buildings 541
London, WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

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