Emancipatory archival method: Exploring the historical geographies of disability

Laura Crawford

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This paper focuses on the use of emancipatory research principles in archival research and contends with the suitability of academic conventions that characterise ethical practice when the research goal is to elevate the voices of marginalised historical groups. Drawing on a case study of Le Court Cheshire Home, England (1948–1975) to address a critical gap in the literature, I highlight some ethical dilemmas I encountered when working at the nexus of historical geography and geographies of disability. This paper demonstrates what an emancipatory research approach means for an archival study of disability, using examples to illustrate how ethical decisions impacted all stages of the research design and the write-up of findings. I argue that ethics should not be envisaged solely as an approval process completed at the project's outset. Rather, the explorative nature of archival research necessitates that ethics should be an iterative undertaking, with archival sources having the potential to shape both the content and conduct of the research.

Short Abstract
The paper uses a case study of Le Court Cheshire Home to explore research ethics and the applicability of emancipatory research principles for an archival study of disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Issue number00
Early online date22 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2022


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