Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
Edited by Frank Fischer, Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnová and Michael Orsini
Chapter 20: Critical action research and social movements: revitalizing participation and deliberation for democratic empowerment
This chapter outlines a Critical Action Research (CAR) approach to enhance the interplay between research and social movement practices. The authors argue that such interplay is crucial to improve the quality of democratic policy process. Such interplay has the potential to address some of the concerns related to the continued lack of effective deliberation in the policy processes. Drawing on three cases from Nepal, India and Australia, the authors demonstrate that four aspects are crucial: (1) how critical researchers and social actors interact, (2) use of action as a basis of learning and a moral pursuit, (3) interactive learning (dialectical epistemology) and (4) multi-scalar engagement. They conclude that there is enormous scope for revitalizing democratic empowerment in the participatory policy process by strengthening the ways researchers interact with communities and policy actors, across scales, and by balancing epistemic and action objectives in the specific context of application.
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