Self Determined Participatory Action of Marginalized Groups: The streets of São Paulo

relevancy//for whom?//for what?

While reflecting on Who am I? and What do I want? I am trying to propose means through the selection of Action Research as research framework (p.27) and through the definition of my self-conception (p.20) in order to grasp their relevance for my research actions.

Those proposals include several notions of relevance here (p.29) and em>there (p.19), mostly in terms of ‚relevant for me and the way I think my research has to be organized and realized‘.

Even though I think that those notions are valid I still have the feeling that I did not yet draw emphasis on the question of relevancy of my research related to the people and their struggle(s), the struggle(s) this thesis is supposed to be embedded in. Thus, I have to ask in the first place why this thesis shall be relevant in the context of social and emancipatory struggle and for whom?

In order to begin with, I would like to contest the notion of relevance in academic terms because I do not think (and do not want) that my research must merely produce new knowledge and content for sole re-injection into academic space.

In order to start arguing about the meaning of relevance for my research actions I would like to take a set of questions related to relevance into account. Those questions haven been posed by Don Mitchell in ‚What Makes Justice Spatial? What Makes Spaces Just?‘:

Mitchell’s work goes beyond calls for social or political ‚relevance‘ in research and practice by reminding us that determinations of relevance always unfold in a historical and professional matrix. With Lynn Staeheli, he has written that calls for relevance in professional practice ‚cannot be separated from questions about why research should be relevant, how research becomes relevant, the goals of research (including political goals), and the intended audiences and beneficiaries of research‘ (Staeheli and Mitchell 2005: 357). Those questions of why, how, what and for whom also lie at the heart of any movement for justice (Brown et al, 2007, p.8 ).

If I focus my perspective to the space of social struggle and if I align my research to the standpoint of the people and movements, I am probably able to define research objectives that provide orientation for determination of how my research becomes relevant outside academia and how I prevent to focus on the already alluded means to an end (p.25) that merely result in personal or academic benefits.

Therefore I would like to determine my research objectives according to the questions of relevancy from the standpoint of the people and movements, interlinked with my previously defined self-conception (p.20) and research framework (p.27).

Why should my research be relevant?

How does my research becomes relevant?

What are the goals of my research?

Who is the audience and who are the beneficiaries?

Figure 7.10 Questions about relevance that could help to propose further research objectives.

I will not answer those questions right now because they will hopefully unfold when I propose the research objectives of this thesis in the next section (p.44) .


action//activist/research << relevancy//for whom//for what >> what do i want?

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