This monograph explores the ways in which collaborative research relationships with Māori communities can be developed effectively and appropriately. The focus is the institutional and epistemological environments that social researchers work within. While there is a growing body of international literature about the engagement of social sciences research with indigenous communities, there are relatively few researchers who actively theorise the institutional, political, and conceptual frameworks surrounding the research engagement process with indigenous communities.
The monograph is comprised of a series of papers that look into the epistemological and institutional tensions that emerge when academic researchers engage with Māori communities. The underlying theme is that academic disciplines and institutional frameworks are structured in ways that mediate the research relationship. Peter L. Berger’s theory of mediating structures is used as an organising principle for this analysis.
In a discussion of research engagement between Māori communities and universities, the author identifies how academic ways of thinking about community, and particularly the tendency to problematise the concept, can stand in the way of establishing effective mediating structures. The paper, entitled “Collaborative Research in the Post-9/11 Climate”, explores the effect of the current world political climate on the ability of academic researchers and indigenous peoples to construct responsive collaborative relationships. Another paper investigates how the structures of disciplinary knowledge can undermine research with Māori, while the final one looks at the work of university ethics committees in mediating the research relationship with Māori communities.