Comparative and International Learning From Vanuatu Research Moratoria: A plurilevel, plurilocal researcher’s auto-ethnography


  • Alexandra McCormick University of Sydney


research ethics and politics, auto-ethnography, moratorium


In this article, I offer a reflexive auto-ethnography to revisit questions about knowledge and research practices in international contexts, influenced differently by aspects of globalization. Specifically, I position my experience of the Vanuatu research moratorium on ‘foreign’ researchers of 2013/2014 as a lynchpin to analyse and contribute to long-standing, recently revived debates about ethics in research, the politics of international comparisons, and their relationships with traditional knowledge. I base analysis primarily on my plurilevel research and experiences in parts of Vanuatu, in Australia and in our shared South Pacific sub-region in global context between 2008 and 2016, and on my plurilocal personal and researcher identity. In these spaces, the salience of postcolonial identities––with those already allocated, perceived, or shared––has long been tied to different actors’ research aims, application, conduct, and funding. Lenses of critical globalization and postcolonial theories and critical discourse analysis have informed my research to date and, in undertaking this auto-ethnography, I confront current limits and possibilities in these. One aim is to shed light on how we might extend understanding and enactment of inter-related practices of ownership, production, and uses of knowledge situated within decolonizing discourses and more rapidly changing, integrated education and research contexts. I explore how understanding these dimensions can contribute to strengthening our understandings of and resulting approaches to knowledge production and sharing, which I see as the core work of research, research relationships and, ultimately, education and teaching.

Author Biography

Alexandra McCormick, University of Sydney

Lecturer, University of Sydney, Sydney School of Education and Social Work