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Collaborative Methods or Collaboration as Method Michael Darcy Western Sydney Housing Coalition ‘Learning to Listen’: What your community says about housing.

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Presentation on theme: "Collaborative Methods or Collaboration as Method Michael Darcy Western Sydney Housing Coalition ‘Learning to Listen’: What your community says about housing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Collaborative Methods or Collaboration as Method Michael Darcy Western Sydney Housing Coalition ‘Learning to Listen’: What your community says about housing

2 Knowledge and Methods “The word itself “research” is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary..... The ways in which scientific research is implicated in the worst excesses of colonialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonised peoples. It is a history that still offends the deepest sense of our humanity.” Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2001) Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People (p.1)

3 Constructing Knowledge Power/Knowledge Research generates and validates Knowledge Who constructs and validates research?

4 Critical Social Science “ This awareness [that research is a power-oriented Western cultural practice] has led many to question their own research practices, to work with ‘those’ who have traditionally been labelled as ‘research subject’ as partners with equal voice in the research process, and to even determine that particular form of research (that are most likely to create power for the researcher) will no longer be acceptable” Lincoln & Cannella 2004b p299

5 Research Research Questions Nature of Knowledge Quality Assessment CommunityDissemination Academic Curiosity National Research Priorities Disciplinary Conventional rigour Peer review Laboratory Research Object Peer reviewed publication Consultant Expert skills applied to ‘private’ questions ‘Commodified’Utility for client Customer ‘knowledge mining’ Commercial Engaged researcher/ Collaborator Shared, negotiated Contextual Multiple Meaning, relevance, identity Owner Participant Multiple, reflecting ownership

6 ... housing researchers need to question far more the construction of ‘problems’ commonly advanced by government policy makers if the discipline is to retain critical and independent modes of enquiry. (Jacobs Kemeny and Manzi, 2003: 431)

7 challenges to Housing Studies knowledge and understanding from other epistemic universes (‘‘lived experience’’, etc.) are often dismissed as inferior.... this is a form of fraudulent scientific imperialism because it fails to recognize the epistemological value of ‘‘lived experience’’ and the ‘‘local knowledge’’ that is constituted through it. Allen (2009: 55)


9 REVIEW: Dominant Discourses of Place and Disadvantage ‘social exclusion’  imagines a boundary, and focuses attention on those outside it (Levitas)  metaphor contributes to construction of disadvantage as a spatial phenomenon, draws attention to geographic concentration as evidence of a causal link between place and poverty which is culturally mediated. ‘neighbourhood effects’  propinquity of disadvantaged households creates a local social or cultural dynamic which perpetuates disadvantage  ‘social capital’ sustains economic well-being, through role modelling, networking and civic participation  density, distinctive building design and specific combinations of public and private space are all implicated


11 Evidence Based Policy Masking difference Rationing resources Economic and political values Singular unchallenged truth state policies which historically contributed to the geographical separation and containment of poor households now emphasize dispersal or penetration of low income communities as a way of generating social order in disadvantaged neighbourhoods (see Uitermark et al 2007)


13 Housing, Place and Disadvantage recasting ‘neighbourhood effects’ and ‘disadvantaged places’ using collaborative ‘emergence’ methodology reframing contemporary debate about concentration and de-concentration of poverty, particularly through redevelopment of public housing directly involving affected residents of disadvantaged areas in research design and implementation, and to provide opportunities for residents to develop and share insights across sites


15 “Liberatory Enquiry” How do we pursue social justice without imposing our predetermined notions of emancipation (rescue?)? How do we collaborate without denying difference or forcing consensus? How can our research methods provide for people to choose how they are represented?

16 We are not seeking directly to engage theories of social exclusion or neighbourhood effects, but to create opportunities for residents to make and validate their own theories Community Based Research is a “collaborative enterprise” between academics, students and community members that “validates multiple sources of knowledge and promotes the use of multiple methods of discovery and dissemination” aimed at “achieving social justice” Strand et al 2003


18 dominant definitions of housing issues (whether in social science or society at large) are simply those whose protagonists have successfully transformed them from concepts into ‘‘established facts’’ that are widely agreed upon A key problem.. is that the social sciences ask questions about housing phenomena that are fundamentally different to the types of questions posed (if they are posed at all) by people as they dwell in everyday life. (Allen 2009)


20 'exclusion' extends to exclusion of poor tenant households from the discursive practices through which disadvantaged places have become problematised discursive practices include academic research.



23 A methodology of emergence or..... emergence of a methodology community collaborators are competent agents and experts in their own lives inform each phase of the research: developing specific research questions, data collection, analyses and dissemination support residents– as situated knowledge producers - to investigate the ‘problem’ of public housing ‘concentration’, and to scrutinize the strategies of public policy agencies


25 Research Steering Groups: Sydney & Chicago Multiple Local Research Teams in Sydney, Melbourne & Chicago Academic Researchers - SJSC UWS - CURL Loyola Diagram 1: Collaborative, Comparative Research Model


27 Linking across sites context based story telling (autoethnography) participatory diagramming visual contributions (photographic, video) Interactive website Teleconferencing – ‘access grid’


29 Analysis analysis is an integral part of the process and is not necessarily separate from the processes of data collection and production techniques. Regular “moments of analysis” emerge at various points of the research processes as part of the collaborators’ reflective praxis. (Cahill, 2007: 306) plenaries become arenas in which the social re-negotiation of the phenomena under discussion can begin to take place Kesby (2000: 425)


31 emergent spaces for political action, notably spaces where those confined to the nation-state (citizens) or those who are immobile (because of poverty or political vulnerability) can actually engage in global politics (Sassen 2008)


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