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Participatory Session: Activist Research Methods

Multivocality and Dialogical Praxis in and for Degrowth

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In this participatory session, we'll be reflecting on the blurry boundaries between activism and research (Conde 2014) and discuss the challenging use and legitimization of anthropological methods that seek to understand scientific research as the product of multiple layers of knowledge and the involvement of multiple agents subject to the heterogenous field of Degrowth (Demaria, Schneider, et al. 2013).
Researching in and for Degrowth needs a new methodological framework, where dialogical and self-reflexive tools correspond with the multi-faceted socio-ecological and political spheres of societal transformation. We need methods that allow us an “alternative thinking of alternatives” (Santos 2008: 273) in and for the scientific community.
This workshop experiments with methods I used and developed during my fieldwork in Munich, Germany (“Local Negotiations towards a Great Transformation”), such as mental mapping, storytelling, radical listening and collaborative vision weaving.
Thereby, an anthropological key method is participant observation, that sets the basis for a qualitative, constructivist approach and maintains an innovative methodological toolkit to discuss activist research interdisciplinary.
Furthermore, we’ll be discussing the oscillating role between researcher and research subject as part of the dialogical “data gathering” process.

1. Stepping into theory - We’re getting started with a short introduction on activist research and collect dialogical-participatory methods, we mutually reflect on.
2. Praxis - We’ll be conducting methods, e.g. listening to the landscape (of urban neighborhoods in Malmö), mapping our perceptions of a public place, storytelling as knowledge production
3. Contextualization and group discussion - We’ll critically reflect the methods used and discuss challenges and experiences from the praxis.

Participants are encouraged to bring own methods into the workshop and experiences they'd like to be discussed or to be practiced. Also, prospective research endeavors can be shared and discussed.

pre knowledge:
basic knowledge of Degrowth theoretical streams and visions desirable;
knowledge concerning cultural-relativist theories and ethnological methodology might be helpful, but is not mandatory.

Conde, Marta. 2014. Activism Mobilizing Science, in: Ecological Economics 105: 67-77.
Demaria, Federico; François Schneider; Joan Martinez-Alier, 2013.What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement, in: Environmental Values 22 (2013): 191–215.
Demmer, Ulrich; Agata Hummel. 2017. Degrowth, anthropology, and activist research: the ontological politics of science, in: Journal of Political Ecology 24: 610-622.
Santos, Boaventura de Sousa. 2008. „The World Social Forum and the Global Left“.
Politics & Society 36(2):247–70.


Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 16:00
Duration: 02:00
Room: ABF (210)
Track: Critical Social Theories



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