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Sat, Nov 12

|

Seattle

Session on Participatory Action Research at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association

This panel brings together community researchers, scholars, and activists to explore not just how research may shift existing power structures through participatory methods, but also how we can unsettle the notion of research itself.

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Session on Participatory Action Research at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Session on Participatory Action Research at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association

Time & Location

Nov 12, 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA

About the Event

From Researcher to Co-Conspirator: Tending to the Relational Ethics of PAR

11/12/22

8:00 AM - 9:45 AM ET

Location (Subject to change): Ballroom 6B

Sharing stories of harm can be a healing experience just as much as it can feel vulnerable and exploitative. Traditional research tends to collect data from marginalized communities about their lives in extractive ways, and it often uses the gathered knowledge to justify an oppressive status quo. Participatory Action Research, or PAR, seeks to undo the harms of traditional research through its collaborative nature and its attention to power, privilege, and vulnerabilities. By doing research not on people but in reciprocity with people, PAR shifts power to marginalized communities, unsettles established narratives (e.g., what justice is, what safety means etc.), and dissolves binaries like researcher/researched or insider/outsider.

Yet, we identify a number of tensions that emerge around the relational ethics of PAR: As we become proximate to research participants-who might be neighbors, friends, family members, lovers, political allies, fellow congregates etc.-how are we, as researchers, answerable to the experience of both structural and interpersonal harm that we are prone to witnessing? Also, while PAR offers the opportunity to be in relationship with people, researchers often experience severe structural constraints regarding the longitudinal nature of their work in terms of availability of funding, time, participants, etc. This puts limitations on our ability to curate sustainable and politically meaningful relationships between researchers and participants. We seek to explore what kind of resources are necessary to elevate the work of relationship building to the realm of political action. Last but not least, even though PAR seeks to uplift the voices of impacted communities, we continue to face the problem of representation as researchers translate community knowledge into the language of policy makers, academics, or other experts, who are positioned a step removed from the lived experiences of those who are sharing their stories with us.

This panel brings together community researchers, scholars, and activists to explore not just how research may shift existing power structures through participatory methods, but also how we can unsettle the notion of research itself. Longing to be not just researchers but co-conspirators, we ask how we can commit ourselves fully to relational ethics, what radical accountability looks like in the context of research, and how PAR can empower impacted communities to become politically activated.

Speakers: Saadiq Anderson-Bey, Nichelle Barton, Hadley Friedland, Dustin Hare, Josh Harsin, Hanna Hochstetler, Andrea N. Juarez Mendoza, Maya Kearney, Gohan Mendez, Maresi Starzmann, Claudia Vallejo-Torres, Kim Weaver

This session is co-sponsored by the General Anthropology Division and the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology.

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