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Supporting Struggles for Educational Justice: Participatory Ethics, Responsible Research, and Social Movements

Authors: Nicole Nguyen*, University of Illinois - Chicago
Topics: Qualitative Research
Keywords: education, social movements, ethics
Session Type: Lightning Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Geographers increasingly have turned to participatory methods to support community-led struggles for justice. In pursuing these projects, geographers have considered the unique ethical responsibilities such work entails by exploring the politics of visibility or “going public” (Dickens and Butcher 2016), troubling the concept of responsible research in the aftermath of disaster (Brun 2009), and examining the challenges of practicing participatory geographies (Wynne-Jones, North, and Routledge 2015). Less attention, however, has been cast on the ethics of conducting research to support social movement work related to issues of educational justice. These limited conversations have focused primarily on the ethics of conducting participatory action research projects with youth (Cahill, Rios-Moore, and Threatts 2008). And, these conversations oftentimes are relegated to private spaces, rather than part of a broader set of intellectual engagements in academic journals and conferences. Critical geographers of education therefore must continue to publicly discuss and study the unique ethical issues raised when conducting research to support community struggles for educational justice, from participatory projects to research studies engaged in “studying up” to the use of school databases. This discussion intends to open up a conversation about and begin to workshop the ethics of supporting community struggles for educational justice while being attentive to our own positionality as academics with varying degrees of power and privilege.

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