Learning 'to be' Kinyarwanda in Postgenocide Rwanda : immersion, iteration and reflexivity in times of transition
Institute of Development Policy and Management
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF LAW AND SOCIETY
, p. 277-292
University of Antwerp
The research activity generating data in times of transition is subject to politicization and needs to deal with widespread distrust due to the legacy of violence or atrocity. This article discusses the main principles of a research design that took into account these hindrances by making prudence its basic tenet. The objective was to generate understanding of the functioning of Rwandas gacaca court process through a heightened awareness in data collection. In doing so, this article calls attention to the importance of a reflective and adaptive research process in times of transitional justice. Two research principles are discussed in detail: immersion and iteration. The latter were adopted to facilitate the generation of context-specific knowledge on both breadth and depth of the transitional justice process. This article demonstrates how a pragmatic stance that draws on a variety of epistemologies and methodological approaches facilitates data collection as well as navigation of the field of study. It will be argued that data collection and the activity of navigating the field while collecting data reciprocally produce knowledge.