Research as agitation: Generative activism in the age of resistance
A torrent of public attention has surfaced myriad allegations of exploitation, discrimination and abuse by humanitarian, development, international aid, and global agencies. Amid these, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), our former employer, has been thrust into the spotlight, owing in large part to the témoignage and activism of current and former employees mobilizing in a growing movement to “Decolonise MSF”. In June 2020, a staff-led open letter containing more than 1,100 signatures and 200 testimonies of abuse and discrimination went public. MSF’s international leadership, in the aftermath, welcomed “the current debate on racism” but did not formally acknowledge the letter or its specific demands. Since then, media attention has amplified insider concerns on racism and segregation within the organisation.
Calls to ‘decolonise’ global health by academics, practitioners, activists, and students differ in their approach and focus. While they jointly seek to address and dismantle racist and discriminatory structures and norms, few have delved into the more complex analysis of the “monopoly, misuse, or abuse” of power, including, crucially, the ways in which it is experienced.
Majumdar A, Mukerjee M (2022) Research as agitation: Generative activism in the age of resistance. PLOS Glob Public Health 2(1): e0000142. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000142