Collaborative Ethnography With Social Movements: Key Dimensions and Challenges


  • Alberto Arribas Lozano Maynooth University



collaborative ethnography, social movement studies, movement-relevant theory, co-analysis, co-theorization, research collaboration, knowledge co-production, engaged research


In this article, I explore collaborative ethnography as a means to bridge theory and practice, knowledge and action, in social movement research, and to produce knowledge that is relevant and useful both inside and outside academia. For this purpose, I will present a group of interconnected dimensions and challenges that shape the practice of research collaboration with social movements: a situated, artisanal and experimental ethos regarding method and outcomes; elements of shared authority, co-decision, co-analysis, and co-theorization in fieldwork; the decentered role of scholars; the tension between academic and extra-academic relevance; the link between trust, access, and collaboration; epistemic and methodological questions of writing and representation; the significance of time for weaving and sustaining collaboration; and the ways in which the actors involved relate to knowledge-practices and theory production. These eight dimensions illustrate how ethnographic collaboration takes place (or fails to materialize) in actual research projects, highlighting elements that will facilitate or hinder the co-production of knowledge with our co-researchers.


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Author Biography

Alberto Arribas Lozano, Maynooth University

Alberto ARRIBAS LOZANO is a researcher at the Movement Learning Catalyst project. His work focuses on the intersection between collective action and the politics of knowledge production. He has conducted collaborative research with social movements and civil society organizations in Europe and Latin America, bridging theory and action in/through research.




How to Cite

Arribas Lozano, A. (2022). Collaborative Ethnography With Social Movements: Key Dimensions and Challenges. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(3).



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