University of Cambridge > > Education, Equality and Development (EED) Group Seminars > The Political Use of Research in Studying Elites: Participatory Action Research

The Political Use of Research in Studying Elites: Participatory Action Research

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Researchers who study privileged individuals and elite institutions are increasingly using collaborative approaches to gather information that is difficult to acquire. They are engaging in participatory action research (PAR) to study with elites within institutions structured to reproduce their elite status. Although no two PAR projects are alike, a common understanding is that PAR is a collaborative approach founded on versions of justice and working towards transformation; it is a political use of research by participants to bring about social and individual change. Encouraged by the potential of this collaborative approach, I teamed up with twenty-three wealthy young adults to co-lead a research effort to explore the role of self-understandings in generating and reinforcing elite status. Some underlying tenets informed our inquiry: a collective commitment to explore an issue; a desire to engage in self- and collective reflection; a joint decision to engage in action; and the building of alliances in the planning, implementation, and dissemination of research. Drawing on this research, this seminar focuses on ways that collaborative and participatory research approaches provide an epistemology that enables researchers and those within elite educational contexts to challenge injustices, and contest, reframe and transform privilege. This seminar explores both the limitations and possibilities for engaging in such political work through research

This talk is part of the Education, Equality and Development (EED) Group Seminars series.

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