The Unintended Consequences of Risk Assessment Regimes: How Risk Adversity at European Universities Is Affecting African Studies

Article by Giulia Piccolino, and Franklin, Sabine

Many European universities have introduced procedures for assessing risks to social researchers. These procedures are inspired by occupational and safety health standards, whose logic is driven by the suppression of uncertainty. The rise of risk assessment also fits into a broader global trend of increasingly representing marginalised areas of the world as risky and insecure. While there is a lack of evidence about the actual impact of these procedures on mitigating risks, they are posing an increasing burden on researchers in terms of time, effort, and financial resources, affecting particularly research in and about Africa. Risk assessment can also influence the choice of research methods and reinforce neocolonial patterns of knowledge production by encouraging the transfer of risk to local partners, whose views are rarely integrated in the risk assessment process. This analysis discusses the unintended impact of risk assessment and gives some suggestions for improving processes of preventing risk to social researchers. See the article here.

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