Destabilising Equilibriums: harnessing the power of disruption in participatory action research

Cook, Tina and Brandon, Toby and Zonouzi, Maryam and Thomson, Louise (2019) Destabilising Equilibriums: harnessing the power of disruption in participatory action research. Educational Action Research, 27 (3). pp. 379-395.

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This article draws on insights gained from three projects described as participatory action research (PAR) and undertaken in separate contexts within the UK. What binds them together alongside the commitment to PAR is that each project coordinator raised the issue of the under-representation of opportunities for disruption as a trajectory to knowledge democracy.

PAR places a relational process at the centre of the research practice. It brings together people with varied knowledges, perspectives and experiences and aspires to be a non-hierarchical, relational, collaborative endeavour. This challenge and disrupts the traditional hierarchical hegemony of the external expert in research situations. Bringing people together does not, however, equate to shared agency, authentic participation and knowledge democracy. For different knowledges to be created previous knoweldges need to be disrupted. The argument raised in this paper is that a neglected element of PAR has been the deliberate intent to nurture disruption within communicative spaces in relationally based engagements. It is posited that disruption within the PAR process itself, the disruption of beliefs and assumptions that underpin local actions, is an important enabler of other voices and knowledges being recognised and acted upon. Forged by a range of actors the disruption of hitherto accepted knowledge creates a space for new ways of seeing and doing. The three projects described in this paper reveal how and why the recognition of the centrality of disruption, and harnessing its power, contributes to creating a functional knowledge democracy for more radical change.

Item Type: Article
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Disability and Education
Depositing User: Tina Cook
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2019 15:25
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2019 15:25

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