In this open letter, Eve Tuck calls on communities, researchers, and educators to reconsider the long-term impact of “damage-centered” research—research that intends to document peoples’ pain and brokenness to hold those in power accountable for their oppression. This kind of research operates with a flawed theory of change: it is often used to leverage reparations or resources for marginalized communities yet simultaneously reinforces and reinscribes a one-dimensional notion of these people as depleted, ruined, and hopeless. Tuck urges communities to institute a moratorium on damagecentered research to reformulate the ways research is framed and conducted and to reimagine how findings might be used by, for, and with communities.
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is an assistant professor of educational foundations at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her participatory action research with youth has focused on the unintended consequences of education policies such as high-school exit exams on school push-out, and use and over-use of the GED credential by youth and schools. She has also conducted participatory action research with youth on human rights violations, competition, maldistributed resources and opportunities, and youths’ valuations of schooling in New York City. Her writing, which has chronicled Indigenous theories, qualitative research, research ethics, and theories of change, has appeared in the Urban Review
and several edited volumes, including Ethical Futures in Qualitative Research
and the Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies
. She is coauthor of Theory and Educational Research: Toward Critical Social Explanation