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The University as the “Imagined Other”: Making Sense of Community Co-Produced Literacy Research

Pahl, K (2016) The University as the “Imagined Other”: Making Sense of Community Co-Produced Literacy Research. Collaborative Anthropologies, 8 (1-2). pp. 129-148. ISSN 1943-2550

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Abstract

In this article, I argue that the university needs to be understood as an ‘imagined other’ in constructing collaborative community literacy research. This involves a realization that the area of study that universities research is not always what is necessary in communities. There is a dialogic relationship between universities and communities that can be positive and but at the same time, it can also produce conflict. As difficult as it might be, conflict can be generative and can produce new insights. Drawing on research experience from a number of studies of literacy practices in one community, I explore ways in which research processes can be reflected upon collaboratively and I suggest methodologies that allow for uncertainty and unknowing in order to make sense of this process. I argue that combining collaborative ethnography together with methodologies from arts practice can be helpful in grounding collaborative research within epistemologies of uncertainty and hope

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