All by herself?

Being a book about collaboration and dialogue, a book that brings a huge amount of co-produced knowledges into play, it is, of course, paradoxical that 1 have written all chapters apart from the last one ‘all by myself’. This certainly is a standing contradiction as 1 love to work with others, need to try out ideas with others, think when 1 talk with others and enjoy co-creation immensely. Many factors would be able to explain this enigma, some of them being institutional, geographic, questions of time, age, ambition, health, coincidence and workload. However, I hope that the presence of the many coproducers of these pages will be felt vividly. When you read, you know you have been there, that we have been there together. Fortunately, the process of getting together the book has been filled with conversations, feedback and an overspill of inspiration from many good colleagues, especially those from my research group. Dialogic Communication at Roskilde University in Denmark. Precisely because 1 have written the book alone. 1 am extra happy that Bolette Frydendahl Larsen and Louise Phillip agreed to enter a dialogue about the relationship between research and activism, which we hope will function as opening texts which touch upon the main contents of the book and close its last chapter.

Questions of language and translation

1 consider it important to bring in empirical material from non-English speaking contexts, as it allows the consideration of voices that are not often heard, and that due to other contexts might open up to quite different analytical pathways. An imperative is to take up the challenge and go against the lack of a presence of non-English native speaking researchers in the terrain of transnational dialogues about collaborative research methodologies and contribute from a place of a slightly different ‘texture’ (Vandaele, 2016). My empirical material stems from different geographical sites and studies (Bolivia, Peru, Denmark Sweden, Norway, Mexico, EEUU and Spain) all of which aims to show how the immense creative capacity of human beings, if we dare to rely on it - in the making -through joint analysis can establish platforms for action and utopian thinking. I also hope that my contribution occasionally will disturb some of the stereotypical and romanticized images of Scandinavian culture, and specifically Scandinavian gender relations. Also important to mention are the many translations between Spanish, Danish and English which have taken place during writing as a lot of the empirical material was originally written in Spanish or Danish.

The fact that 1 write in English, and not in my mother tongue Danish, has been an additional challenge, which adds a special kind of productive obstruction to the writing process. The effort involved in expressing yourself in another language in terms of thinking, power and communication is often ignored by non-English speaking academics themselves. It is a taken-for-granted condition for participation in academic dialogue. However, it influences our writing in specific ways, establishes norms and figures of thought that we take in from an outsider position, from reading English in academic texts to struggling to obtain a fluidity that we as writers can identify with and recognise in ourselves.

 
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