Community alliances and participatory action research as a mechanism for re-politicising social action for students in higher education

Journal article


Lau, Emily and Body, Alison 2020. Community alliances and participatory action research as a mechanism for re-politicising social action for students in higher education. Educational Action Research. https://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2020.1772093
AuthorsLau, Emily and Body, Alison
Abstract

Evidence from the UN World Youth Report (2015) suggests that young people, while increasingly disengaged with formal political processes, are motivated by cause-related social action. Higher Education (HE), through research and partnership, provides ideal learning spaces to explore cause-related social action. However, as HE partnership opportunities continue to be reframed under a narrative of employability and one-off participation, there is a risk that these experiences miss an opportunity to critically engage young people with issues at a socio-political level. This research paper considers the potential of participatory action research (PAR) as a pedagogical mechanism for re-politicising social action for students in a UK HE context. The project explores the experiences of 160 undergraduate students, working in partnership with 400 young children, aged 2–10 years, to investigate and co-construct their views and action concerning causes represented by local community organisations. Findings suggest that using participatory, youth-action approaches students shifted their self-identified positions from a non-social-orientated approach to establishing them as advocates for causes and children’s voices.

We argue that PAR, as a learning experience, and service-learning pedagogy open up an alternative experience of social action through an educational context with engagement and consideration of social issues. In conclusion, we call for new alliances between HE, young people, and community organisations, to produce, through enquiry, critical knowledge aimed at social transformation, which can open-up authentic democratic spaces within the learning communities in HE and its networks.

KeywordsEducation; Social action; Higher education
Year2020
JournalEducational Action Research
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0965-0792
1747-5074
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2020.1772093
Official URLhttps://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2020.1772093
Publication dates
Online07 Jun 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted12 Apr 2020
Deposited03 Jun 2021
Accepted author manuscript
License
Output statusPublished
Page range1-17
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8xy3z/community-alliances-and-participatory-action-research-as-a-mechanism-for-re-politicising-social-action-for-students-in-higher-education

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