The microphysics of participation in refugee research

 This paper examines the involvement of refugees in the production and reproduction of knowledge of which they are ultimately meant to be beneficiaries. By using examples from research with Central American refugees and Rwandan displaced children, it considers forced migrants’ roles as participants in research, their position in ‘participatory’ research, and the representation of refugees’ voices in refugee-centred research. Power is intimately connected to the diverse ways in which participation unfolds, and the last part of the paper examines refugees’ participation in research in terms of ‘power that circulates’ (Foucault) to show that they are not more or less powerful but vehicles for the circulation of power, simultaneously undergoing and exercising it.

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