Between the Ideal and the Real: Using Ethnography as a Way of Extending Our Language of Change

Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2009) Between the Ideal and the Real: Using Ethnography as a Way of Extending Our Language of Change. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 6 (1-2). pp. 105-128. ISSN 1478-0887

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Abstract

The following paper is a critical examination of participatory action research in practice. By looking at two different narratives of this methodology in practice the aim of the paper is to initiate a discussion around the ways in which we talk about participatory action research—our narratives of participatory action research—and how these forms of expression constrain our theorising of people, interaction, and change. The first narrative discussed follows the conventions of action research. I describe this narrative as a formal narrative that highlights the ideal dimensions of participatory action research. The second narrative follows ethnographic conventions. I describe this narrative as an informal narrative that highlights the real (or lived experience in the language of ethnography) dimensions of participatory action research. In comparing and contrasting the two narratives, I aim to demonstrate the narrative conventions that govern change experiences. I conclude by suggesting that on the one hand we need to maintain a tension between the ideal and the real but at the same time acknowledge that sometimes narrative conventions of the ideal are difficult to break away from.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: participatory action research, ethnography, narrative, social practice theories, de Certeau
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sevasti-Melissa Nolas
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:55
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2012 17:58
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22965
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