Boundary Work and the University in Collaborative Inquiry
The special issue aims to interrogate methodological issues in collaborative inquiry and asks how universities, as core sites of knowledge production, need to change to better accommodate the work of engagement with communities and organisations? Following a framing piece by Tim May, the special issue starts with a contribution from Beth Perry on Co-production as praxis: critique and engagement from within the University, which examines the co-production of critique from within the university as a response to apparent tensions between distance and proximity in critical and engaged work. The paper argues that the co-production of critique requires designing boundary spaces, intermediating between knowledge claims and balancing between articulated and attributed values for co-production. This gives rise to co-production as an epistemic praxis, not method, characterised by boundary work, epistemic choreography and triple shifting.
A subsequent paper from Dan Silver examines the legacy of the work of W.E.B. Dubois and Jane Addams to argue for a critical pragmatist approach, anchored in participatory research, which is more likely to generate theories that are both resonant to conditions of injustice and relevant for social transformation. In Will Mason and Patrick Williams' contribution, they examine their experiences navigating 'fields of paradox' in anti-racist community-university partnerships through a case study of CiviAct. This is followed by an article by Zarina Patel looking at the potentials and pitfalls of co-producing research, with a particular focus on the idea of the portal, to reflect the dynamic exchange required between individuals and their home institutions for realising relevant change. The final article by Hayley Bennett and Richard Brunner explores the political and ethical dilemmas in participatory research through the notion of the 'buffer zone'.
All articles are Open Access and can be downloaded on the Methodological Innovations Online website.
The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.