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Epistemological journeys in participatory action research: alliances between community psychology and disability studies

Goodley, Dan A. and Lawthom, Rebecca (2005) Epistemological journeys in participatory action research: alliances between community psychology and disability studies. Disability & society, 20 (2). pp. 135-151. ISSN 0968-7599

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Abstract

This paper seeks to explore emancipatory disability research possibilities through the use of participatory action research and the cross-fertilisation of ideas between British disability studies (DS) and community psychology (CP). First, we consider the psychology in CP and suggest that it is far removed from mainstream psychology's pathological vision of disabled people. Second, we draw on Burrell and Morgan's (1979) model of paradigms to interrogate research practice in DS and CP. Third, we compare and contrast research narratives from DS and CP through reference to some examples of our own research. We argue that CP pays particular attention to the development of community selves and cultural identities within the participatory action research process: which we feel to be a key concern for the development of an emancipatory DS. We conclude that recognising the radical humanist element of participatory action research (PAR) permits us to navigate an enabling journey for disability research.

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