Drawing from the capabilities approach (Sen 1999; Nussbaum 2000) and reflecting on Fricker’s (2007) epistemic (in)justice, this paper seeks to explain how a participatory oral history project enabled youth researchers in Palestine to increase their capabilities to participate in political and social life in their communities by fostering their attachment to the land and by increasing understanding of their cultural heritage. Due to the occupation, Palestinian youth researchers have been exposed to epistemic inequalities. They have been systematically prevented from exercising their political functionings; they cannot voice their ideas on freedom, heritage and land. Findings show that through participatory research, the youth researchers took an active role in their communities to cultivate their epistemic abilities to be the narrators of their own stories and to create public advocacy. Whilst acknowledging the intersectional power dynamics and oppression that govern their lives, the paper explores the possibility of participatory research in redressing epistemic injustices caused by structural inequalities and in disrupting colonial relations of domination. The research indicates that even in politically fragile contexts, participatory research can promote critical reflection, challenge the social imaginaries stigmatising the youth, and provide opportunities to develop political capabilities for social and public advocacy.
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Mahmoud Soliman and Laura Sulin were members of the On Our Land project team at Coventry University. The team was led by Marwan Darweish and included Patricia Sellick, Aurélie Broeckerhoff and Elly Harrowell. The project was conducted in partnership with the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee This research is a collaborative effort between the youth researchers and local leaders in South Hebron Hills, oPt, and the On Our Land teams in the UK and Palestine. The On Our Land project was funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund (2017-2019) in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. The fund aims to protect cultural heritage which is at risk due to conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. For more information, please visit the project website www.onourland.coventry.ac.uk .
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Epistemic justice
- cultural heritage
- occupied palestinian territories
- participatory methods
- political capability
- power asymmetric
- public advocacy
ASJC Scopus subject areas