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Title: By the community, for the community : an investigation of participatory video with Karrayyu Oromo pastoralists, Ethiopia
Author: Cullen, Beth Selina
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis aims to investigate the potential of Participatory Video (PV) as a method for facilitating collaborative research; and, by this methodology, produce an ethnographic description of Karrayyu Oromo community, lifestyle and culture which is accessible by and useful for community members, as well as researchers. The Karrayyu are one of the last Oromo groups to practice pastoralism and Oromo traditions such as the Gadaa system and Waaqeffata, the Oromo religion. However, they are struggling due to a range of pressures, including the recent introduction of a large scale irrigation scheme which aims to convert them from pastoralism to agriculture. This thesis attempts to document aspects of Karrayyu culture and way of life, as well as attitudes towards the transition from pastoralism to agriculture. The overall research approach falls under collaborative anthropology. Community members were involved throughout, from designing research questions and areas of inquiry, to gathering data and analysis. Although I specified a methodological approach I did not define the research area or specific research questions. Video was used as a tool to engage participants as co-creators of knowledge, thus shifting the power dynamics of knowledge creation away from purely researcher driven enquiry. Throughout this thesis I merge ideas taken from collaborative ethnography, engaged anthropology and participatory research in order to provide a theoretical background for the study of PV. This research seeks to generate a more in-depth, critical and reflexive understanding of PV as a research tool. The thesis explores PV as a method and its potential uses for anthropological research. I focus on power dynamics and representation, PV and indigenous knowledge, PV and vertical communication, and PV as a form of cultural brokerage. I argue that PV answers calls for collaborative forms of research and offers opportunities for a new form of “engaged” anthropology, whilst also acknowledging the challenges raised by the use of PV. As well as investigating the use of PV, this research aims to make a positive contribution to the Karrayyu community. PV enabled participants to convey their reality as they see it, which was particularly important for members of a marginalised group who have been denied opportunities to represent their culture and history, and who currently have little influence over the policies that affect them. The thesis explores issues of representation, attempts to address access to and ownership of knowledge, and raises questions about the relevance and application of research for indigenous groups like the Karrayyu.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available