Science for Success—A Conflict of Interest? Researcher Position and Reflexivity in Socio-Ecological Research for CBNRM in Namibia

Stasja Koot*, Paul Hebinck, Sian Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper emphasizes the importance of researcher position and reflexivity for professionals in the ecological and development sciences. We draw on critical discourse analysis (CDA) to analyze a selection of scientific papers written by Namibian Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) professionals and their relationships with public discourse regarding this conservation and development program. These papers mainly show “success” whilst disregarding “failure” of elements in the program that elsewhere are highly criticized (especially trophy hunting and ecotourism). In addition, they seem to disregard questions concerning researchers’ conflicts of interest that bear on the papers’ “objectivity.” We argue that such positions beg more transparency and epistemological accountability. In particular, we propose greater disclosure and reflexivity regarding researcher positioning as an important methodological response for illuminating when and how researchers have an interest in specific outcomes of their research, so as to enhance interpretation of the knowledge produced by such research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2020

Keywords

  • CBNRM
  • conflict of interest
  • critical discourse analysis
  • methodology
  • Namibia
  • objectivity
  • professionals
  • reflexivity
  • researcher position

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