Migrants as Knowledge Producers: Participatory Photography as a [Limited] Tool for Inclusion


  • Magdalena Arias Cubas Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), Deakin University.




Participatory photography, participatory methods, qualitative methods, knowledge on migration, inequality


Who is the expert or the knowing subject that produces knowledge? This is a key question driving postcolonial and feminist critiques of the social sciences, which is yet to be fully explored with regards to the production of knowledge on migration. These critiques emphasise that ‘experts’ do not generate knowledge from a detached and neutral point of observation, while they also question the distinction between ‘experts’ and those that are construed as ‘objects’ of study. Through a reflection on primary research conducted as part of a PhD project with Indigenous people in Mexico and Indigenous migrants with an irregular status in the US, this article draws attention to the role of migrants (and others affected by migration processes) as potential producers of knowledge, rather than as merely passive ‘objects’ of study. In particular, this paper emphasises the significant (albeit limited) role of participatory methods, such as participatory photography, in correcting common practices of exclusion in the production of knowledge on migration.

Author Biography

Magdalena Arias Cubas, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), Deakin University.

Associate Research Fellow, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI).


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How to Cite

Arias Cubas, M. (2020). Migrants as Knowledge Producers: Participatory Photography as a [Limited] Tool for Inclusion. Migration Letters, 17(2), 265–277. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i2.736