Migrant Communities and Participatory Research Partnerships in the Neoliberal University





Skills shortage, brain drain, immigrant communities, Brain gain, Migration


Participatory research holds the potential to decolonize knowledge production and put research into action to advance social justice aims and the concerns of participant communities. Participatory approaches are becoming more accepted, yet the output and impact demands researchers must fulfil remain mismatched to participatory work, driven instead by a neoliberal academic model. In this context, I see a cautionary tale in the history of participatory practices among international development institutions, where participation was brought into the mainstream but in the process hollowed out and de-radicalized. Reflecting on my experiences with two participatory research projects over the course of my PhD studies, I ask whether the incomplete opening for participatory research could similarly push research in particular directions. Specifically, I consider whether participatory work with strong organizational partners will be structurally favored over potential partnerships with non-organized or highly marginalized communities and groups.

Author Biography

Aaron Malone, University of Colorado-Boulder

Aaron Malone completed his PhD in Geography at the University of Colorado, where he was also an affiliate of the Population Program in the Institute of Behavioral Science. He begins a post-doctoral research position at Colorado School of Mines in mid-2019.


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How to Cite

Malone, A. (2020). Migrant Communities and Participatory Research Partnerships in the Neoliberal University. Migration Letters, 17(2), 239–247. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i2.805