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Community Alliances and Participatory Action Research as a mechanism for re-politicising social action for students in Higher Education

Lau, Emily, 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, . ISSN 0965-0792. (doi:10.1080/09650792.2020.1772093) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:81422)

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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.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09650792.2020.1772093
Uncontrolled keywords: social action, Higher Education, Participatory Action Research, re-politicisation, employability, community partnership, apathy, young people, political processes, civic action
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Alison Body
Date Deposited: 27 May 2020 17:38 UTC
Last Modified: 04 May 2024 03:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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