Action research in conflict-ridden contexts

Editors

  • Francesco Paolo Colucci, University of Milan - Bicocca, Italy (last affiliation)
  • Jacqueline Akhurst, Rhodes University, South Africa

Theme of the Special Issue

Within the broad and debated field of intervention research, action research stands out for the relevance of its theoretical foundations as well as for its bidirectional, dialectical relationship between theory and practice. Both these features are essential to improve the context within which the intervention is to be delivered.

Today, various forms of inequalities underlie conflict (e.g., ethnic, social, economic etc.), which lead to different forms of marginalization. These range from exclusion of groups from being entitled to fundamental human rights, to deprivation and unmet basic needs. Some examples are: being negated the right to health, being excluded from the labour market (e.g. unemployment, job insecurity, and exploitation), or from the education system (e.g., school disadvantage and dropout).

Conflict also occurs in many forms, for example in armed conflicts between states or even within the same state (e.g., the Israeli Arab conflict in the Middle East and Israel). Sometimes it may be linked to organized crime or juvenile delinquency, others to disputes in the workplace. It may also well apply to the current migration flows to Europe and the United States.

The aim of this special issue is to publish scientific contributions that document examples of action research conducted in conflict-ridden contexts.

The relationship between theory and practice can be traced back to the very origins of action research, particularly to the psychological work of Lewin (Colucci & Colombo 2018), which proposed the first definition and examples of action research (Lewin, 1946). Alongside Lewin, other pathfinders are to be credited for laying the groundwork of action research (Dubost & Lévy, 2002). Starting from the seventies, action research has taken new directions (Rapoport, 1970), following novel theoretical paths, some of which are even critical of the original Lewinian approach (Cassell & Johnson, 2006).

The type of action research that arose and flourished in situations of crisis and change – namely in the forties and seventies of the 20th century – had to deal with intergroup conflicts, marginalization of minority groups, and imbalanced power status assigned to groups according to their place in society. Under those circumstances, action research committed to reducing conflicts and exclusion.

In this light, conflict was understood as part of group relations and power struggles.

Today, various forms of inequalities underlie conflict (e.g., ethnic, social, economic etc.), which lead to different forms of marginalization. These range from exclusion of groups from being entitled to fundamental human rights, to deprivation and unmet basic needs. Some examples are: being negated the right to health, being excluded from the labour market (e.g. unemployment, job insecurity, and exploitation), or from the education system (e.g., school disadvantage and dropout).

Conflict also occurs in many forms, for example in armed conflicts between states or even within the same state (e.g., the Israeli Arab conflict in the Middle East and Israel). Sometimes it may be linked to organized crime or juvenile delinquency, others to disputes in the workplace. It may also well apply to the current migration flows to Europe and the United States.

The aim of this special issue is to publish scientific contributions that document examples of action research conducted in conflict-ridden contexts.

Only completed works (i.e., carried out up to the final phase) will be taken in consideration. Some ongoing action research projects, and even those that are still in the early stages of the intervention or that had to be interrupted, can be submitted. However, their acceptance will be conditional on providing satisfactory justifications.

Submissions are expected to:

  • Elucidate the reference theory (or the theories) that inspired the action research project;
  • Provide a rationale to account for the chosen reference theoretical framework as well as the implementation of the intervention;
  • Clearly and thoroughly describe the research methods and procedures adopted. These are expected to be consistent with the reference theoretical framework.

Details

Submitted papers should contain original and unpublished work and must be written in English. For non-native speakers, editing of the manuscript by a competent English-speaking editor is requested.

Papers are due January 31, 2019. Early submissions are welcome.

All submitted papers will undergo the journal's regular peer review process.

Papers must be prepared in full accord with the journal’s Author guidelines and be submitted through the journal portal (http://siba-ese.unisalento.it/index.php/cpgp/index).

Inquiries regarding topic or scope for the special issue can be sent to Francesco Paolo Colucci (francescopaolo.colucci@unimib.it) and Jacqueline Akhurst (J.Akhurst@ru.ac.za).

Papers unrelated to the theme of the special issue may be submitted at any time through the journal’s online submission system and will be considered for publication in Community Psychology In Global Perspective as regular articles. Inquiries regarding the journal’s aim, scope, and policy can be sent to terri.mannarini@unisalento.it.

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References

Colucci F.P., & Colombo M. (2018). Dewey and Lewin: A Neglected Relationship and its Current Relevance to Psychology. Theory & Psychology, I-18, 20-37.

Cassell, C. & Johnson, P. (2006). Action research: Explaining the diversity. Human Relations, 59, 783-814.

Dubost, J., & Lévy, A. (2002). Recherche-action et intervention. In J. Barus-Michel, E. Enriquez & A. Lévy (Eds.), Vocabulaire de psychosociologie, Références et positions. Ramonville Saint-Ange: Édition Érès.

Lewin, K. (1946). Action research and minority problems. Journal of Social Issues, 2, 34-46.

Rapoport, R.N. (1970). Three dilemmas in action research. Human Relations, 23, 499-513.

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