Learning Research & Change Methods

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Posts Tagged ‘social change

Action Research: Social Research for Social Change

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How do social researchers know how to select the action research (AR) approach that is most appropriate for their study? Aimed at providing newcomers to AR with the different approaches they seek, Action Research introduces the history, philosophy, social change agenda, methodologies, ethical arguments for, and fieldwork tools of AR. The book opens with a brief presentation of two cases of AR. This is followed by chapter on the philosophical and methodological arguments for AR as a form of scientific inquiry that better meets scientific standards than what is currently called “social science” in academia. The authors next explore the marginalization of AR activities in academia, followed by four cases drawn from the authors own practice, including some examples of failures. Two new chapters engage the student and researcher into the current debates on action research as “tradition” or its own “methodology“, and how action research takes shape in the university environment. In the final section of the book the authors cover six different approaches to doing AR. Throughout the book, the authors employ a consistent AR praxis supported by suitable methods and tools to integrate a philosophical, methodological, and political economic position to view the different kinds of AR practices. Action Research provides experienced researchers and practitioners with more appropriate and productive ways of using AR for conducting social research.

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Written by learningchange

August 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

Education, Participatory Action Research and Social Change

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Drawing primarily from critical traditions in social and educational research, this book frames contemporary issues and several conceptual, theoretical-analytical and onto-epistemmic approaches towards the development and practice of PAR (Participatory Action Research) in multiple educational spaces and initiatives for socio-cultural change. These include indigenous conceptions from Berber (Algeria), Cree & Innuit (Canada), Maori (New Zealand), Adivasi (India) and African indigenous communities in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, while critical Euro-American traditions address neoliberal cooptation of PAR, Habermasian applications in higher education, critical pedagogy and critical ecological perspectives in North America and Australia.

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Written by learningchange

October 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

Complexity Science and Social Entrepreneurship – Adding Social Value through Systems Thinking

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This ground-breaking volume explores social entrepreneurship from the perspective of complexity science and systems thinking. Case studies, models, simulations, and theoretical papers advance both theory and practice, providing an innovative and comprehensive look at these dynamic topics. Written by complexity theorists, international development practitioners, and experts in a variety of other disciplines, this must-have book is mandatory reading for everyone interested in this newly developing field.

The greatest contribution from complexity science is the theoretical link it makes between sustainability and the dynamics of open systems in disequilibrium. Amidst a burgeoning literature of social entrepreneurship this volume is the very first to make this link explicit, and in so doing offers a leading-edge perspective on every aspect of social entrepreneurship. Each of the chapters generates new insights and frameworks for researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

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Read also: Introduction

Written by learningchange

December 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Community Gardening As Social Action

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Drawing on social movement theory, the thesis investigates the ways community gardeners in these organisations approach environmental and social justice issues and considers the relationships between community gardening and wider movements. In particular, the thesis considers the political logic of community gardeners’ collective practices, revealing the specific methods community gardeners use to enact social change. It then considers whether community gardening can be seen as a form of political praxis. The thesis shows that community gardening is used strategically and intentionally as a performance to make collective claims. In some contexts and to the extent to which it is so used, it argues that community gardening can be understood as a social movement practice. Finally, the thesis contends that community gardeners’ strategies are part of a repertoire of collective action, which offers both a contribution to existing understandings of collective action and a critique of current conceptualisations of activism.

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The social business

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Almost all leadership concepts start with the assumption that a key role for the leader is to set a direction. This usually means designing and communicating a vision and a set of goals. Traditionally, the roles of vision and goals have been there to help people to understand the direction of the enterprise and how they can contribute to it.

Today we need something more.

We need to define what binds individuals together. Separate individuals connecting with the vision may not be enough if people don’t connect with one another. What we are striving to do is not enough if there is no discussion about who we are, and why we do the things we do. We cannot talk about an organization of people without referring to what makes them a collective.

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On Emergent Leadership

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Without an active leader who takes responsibility for building a network, spontaneous connection between groups emerges very slowly, or not at all.”

So, what are the five key elements of Emergent Leadership?

1. Encourage/ stimulate lots of actors (help build critical mass).

2. Articulate simple, consistent rules.

3. Articulate simple, deep values and goals.

4. Articulate simple, appropriate roles.

5. Assume NO direct command and control.

Is there any evidence of this kind of “Emergent Leadership” happening in OT? Well, YES! LOTS! Just look for the “worker bee” spark plugs in any of the encampments. (These are the folks with the dark circles under their eyes, from working day and night.) They’ve got dark circles, because most of their time is spent swimming against an “anti-leadership” tide.

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Self-Liberation: A Guide to Strategic Planning for Action to End a Dictatorship or Other Oppression

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Many people live in countries with governments that can be identified as dictatorships, or less harshly, authoritarian regimes. Usually, most of the people in those countries would like their oppressive regime to be replaced by a more democratic and free political system.  But, how can this be achieved? Dictatorships are not the only major type of oppression. Systems of social and economic oppression also exist.  When people want to end oppression and achieve greater freedoms and more justice, is there a way to do this realistically, effectively, self-reliantly, and by means that will last? Many people have sought answers to these questions and have worked hard to achieve liberation. Many additional people have tried to assist the oppressed people to end their subjection. However, none of us can claim to have offered adequate answers. These challenges remain.

In conflicts between a dictatorship, or other oppression, and a dominated population, it is necessary for the populace to determine whether they wish simply to condemn the oppression and protest against the system.  Or, do they wish actually to end the oppres-sion, and replace it with a system of greater freedom, democracy, and justice? Many good people have assumed that if they denounce the oppression strongly enough, and protest long enough, the desired change will somehow happen. That assumption is an error.

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Beyond Consensus or Majority: Notes about Decision-Making in a Leaderless Movement

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On October 18th I participated in the general assembly meeting in OccupyOakland. On October 22nd I posted a piece about that experience, which I named In Search of Dialogue. Even before writing that piece I have been engaging in my mind with the large question of decision-making in this movement. Since I posted this piece, I have received many comments and have read much that others have written, all of which have taken my thinking forward.

I remain deeply humble as I reflect on this movement. I believe even more than before that no one at this point can predict what this movement will bring about. With all the humility, I still want to ask the question: how can a movement maintain its focus and vision, include everyone that wants to be heard and create an efficient collaborative decision-making process?

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