Introduction: Participatory research and radical epistemologies: A state of the art

Participatory research and radical epistemologies
By Baptiste Godrie, Maïté Juan, Marion Carrel

This article introduces a thematic issue on contemporary participatory research rooted in radical epistemologies. These epistemologies question the hegemonic conceptions and conventional protocols of science production in relation to the inequalities of power and knowledge that structure social inequalities. By emphasizing cooperative approaches between career and lay researchers embedded in a dual perspective of epistemological pluralism and anti-oppression, radical participatory research harbors subversive epistemological and political ambitions. This article reviews the historical roots of this call to break the monopoly of research and analyzes the different dimensions of this radicality (methodological, ethical, political). It then explores the way in which the crucial questions raised by these approaches have been addressed, in terms of criteria of scientificity, instrumentalization, reflexivity, or the use of orality and emotions. Finally, it questions the current state of this radical posture and analyzes the reasons why it has become blunted over time. Whether on the scale of public policies, university structures, or research activities, a series of phenomena contribute to the scarcity of radical participatory research.

  • Participatory research
  • Radicality
  • Ethics
  • Methodology
  • Epistemology
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