Activist researchers

four cases of affecting change

Megan Sharkey*, Monica Lopez Franco, Lara Katharine Mottee, Federica Scaffidi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Researchers in urban planning are frequently motivated by the desire to facilitate positive social change. In seeking better ways to effect change, the researcher becomes an activist by engaging with social and environmental issues in a meaningful way to solve a problem. It is also often at this nexus where practice and academia meet, where the researcher adopts an activist role. In this paper we argue that activist research requires researchers to place themselves in one of two dominant positionalities or engagement positions: the insider or the outsider, as they join efforts with their research participants and activities. Using four case examples from our own research, we discuss how each positionality influences the production of new knowledge in both practice and theory. We reflect on challenges faced by early-career activist researchers in adopting activist research approaches, highlighting implications for undertaking this type of research in urban planning, and the need for a rethink from current discourses to set a path for a more hopeful future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalPlaNext
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s). Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • activism
  • planning
  • engagement
  • methods
  • action research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Activist researchers: four cases of affecting change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this