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Learning to say ‘no’: privilege, entitlement and refusal in peace, (post)conflict and security research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lewis TurnerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In this forum, we focus on the possibility and necessity for active refusal in research, and the complexities of refusal. We offer four different perspectives, based on our shared concerns and understanding of the harms caused by some field research, and driven by our engagement with and membership in some of the communities experiencing this harmful fieldwork in peace, (post)conflict and security settings. Drawing on feminist, queer, indigenous, anti-racist and decolonial literatures and interventions, we seek to further a practice of refusal as an essential component of researcher reflexivity. Our various positionalities and privileges, and the research entitlement they can bring, necessitate grappling with refusal: we must do better at saying ‘no’. We must also be careful about the ethics of refusal itself: Who gets to say ‘no’ to whom? What comes after the refusal? We hope our interventions encourage more of these conversations and (more importantly) practices. Refusals can be an important ‘full stop’ that interrupt exploitative relationships, and that challenge neoliberal and neocolonial conditions of knowledge production. But they can also be generative of different ways of sharing knowledge, leading to new partners and locations, new conversations that cross the boundaries between the imperialist categories of the researcher and the researched, and new relationships outside of research and outside of work.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hagen JJ, Michelis I, Eggert JP, Turner L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Studies on Security

Year: 2023

Volume: 11

Issue: 2

Pages: 126-144

Online publication date: 08/05/2023

Acceptance date: 27/04/2023

Date deposited: 10/05/2023

ISSN (print): 2162-4887

ISSN (electronic): 2162-4909

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/21624887.2023.2208902


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