New Trends in Community-Engaged Research, Volume 2: New Voices, Critical Approaches

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2023) | Viewed by 22797

Special Issue Editors

Sociology Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Interests: labor and labor markets; political sociology; globalization and social change; migration and racial formation; Southeast Asia
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Sociology, California State University, Long Beach, CA 90815, USA
Interests: global migration; displacement; citizenship; gender; race; class; critical urban studies; collective memory; social movements; Latin America
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Sociology Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Interests: schools and academic achievement; community-based research; health and wellness; school reform and school policy; youth studies; sociology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Volume 2 of “New Trends in Community-Engaged Research” builds on volume 1, which traced the emergence of community-engaged scholarship and the move by university researchers beyond their academic audiences and towards building stronger partnerships with students and community organizations. In volume 2, we expand on a critical community-engaged scholarship that explicitly works towards the goals of equity and justice and also brings in voices from the field that are often unheard. Papers in this Special Issue help document the ways that embedding a critical approach to community-engaged research views students and community partners as equal knowledge producers. The Special Issue brings together university scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and community-based practitioners and researchers to highlight the ways in which critical and justice-oriented community-engaged research are enacted locally. The articles document the multiple assets and collective power that diverse scholars and community-based practitioners bring to collective approaches. The Special Issue invites articles on both the process of conducting critical community-engaged scholarship—its theory, methods, epistemology, and ethics—and results from critical community-engaged research projects. In particular, we welcome articles written with students and/or community practitioners. 

Submission timeline: 

If you are interested in submitting a paper to the Special Issue but have questions, please contact the Special Issue editors (and include an abstract, no longer than 500 words): [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] by Dec 31, 2022.

First full draft to Special Issue editors: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] by February 3rd, 2023.

Full paper to journal: April 15th, 2023.

All submissions will undergo standard procedures of double-blind peer review. Info about article formatting and submission can be found here: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/socsci/instructions

Dr. Steven McKay
Dr. Claudia Lopez
Dr. Rebecca A. London
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • critical community-engaged scholarship
  • policy advocacy
  • community organizing
  • participatory action research
  • community-based research

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

24 pages, 381 KiB  
Article
“Actually Changing Our Way of Being”: Transformative Organizing and Implications for Critical Community-Engaged Scholarship
by
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(10), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12100562 - 09 Oct 2023
Viewed by 757
Abstract
Because research alone cannot dismantle racial inequity, this article focuses on lessons for critical community-engaged scholarship (CCES) based on the Relationship-Centered Schools campaign of Californians for Justice (CFJ), an educational and racial justice youth organizing group. The campaign embraced transformative organizing—an approach to [...] Read more.
Because research alone cannot dismantle racial inequity, this article focuses on lessons for critical community-engaged scholarship (CCES) based on the Relationship-Centered Schools campaign of Californians for Justice (CFJ), an educational and racial justice youth organizing group. The campaign embraced transformative organizing—an approach to social change that encompasses reshaping oppressive institutions and healing trauma wounds wrought by injustice. I discuss findings and methodological implications for CCES, considering challenges in translating research to policy change for racial equity. This article situates the power and limitations of research within CFJ’s broad array of transformative organizing strategies to create more caring and equitable schools. Strategies include youth-led action research, voter engagement, lobbying, youth sharing power with adults, and healing practices of slowing down and relationship building to rehumanize youth of color. I then discuss implications for CCES. First, research supported CFJ youth leaders’ efforts to press institutions to value their full, emotionally complex humanity and legitimize their emotional knowledge. Yet because research is only one of many strategies for transformative change, fully participatory research is not always within organizing groups’ capacity. Thus, researchers can act more expansively by lending our time, energy, and labor to power building. Second, care and healing practices embodied by CFJ can inspire researchers to center relationship building and care as praxis and translate these lessons to transform the academy into a more equitable place. Ultimately, transformative organizing shows how CCES can extend beyond equitable research practices to include more liberatory ways of being, feeling, and acting towards justice. Full article
17 pages, 582 KiB  
Article
Employing Dissonance-Based Interventions to Promote Health Equity Utilizing a Community-Based Participatory Research Approach and Social Network Analysis
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(10), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12100543 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1011
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to examine and advocate for the consideration of relevant approaches that can be utilized to increase the effectiveness of cognitive dissonance-based interventions (DBIs) designed to promote health equity. Although DBIs informed by different paradigms have been reported [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to examine and advocate for the consideration of relevant approaches that can be utilized to increase the effectiveness of cognitive dissonance-based interventions (DBIs) designed to promote health equity. Although DBIs informed by different paradigms have been reported to be effective in creating behavior change, particularly among at-risk populations, their long-term impacts on behavior change have apparently been difficult to sustain. We argue that a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach could considerably improve the effectiveness and long-term impacts of DBIs by harnessing community strengths, increasing stakeholder participation, and facilitating collaborations and partnerships in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of such interventions. Then, we argue that the benefits of employing a CBPR approach in DBIs can be further enhanced when combined with an approach that intentionally utilizes Social Network Analysis (SNA). SNA applies powerful techniques to recognize the type of connections that hold a specific network together and identify that network’s key and influential stakeholders. We conclude by providing recommendations for the use of CBPR and SNA in DBIs and demonstrating the benefits of our recommendations, especially in the context of promoting health equity. Full article
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13 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Community-Engaged Research for Economic Justice: Reflections on Concepts and Practices
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(9), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12090529 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 898
Abstract
The growing practice of community-engaged research (CER) creates new opportunities for practitioners, both to affirm the importance of critical approaches to CER and to strengthen our work by reflecting on the concepts and practices of our research. We offer reflections on the meanings [...] Read more.
The growing practice of community-engaged research (CER) creates new opportunities for practitioners, both to affirm the importance of critical approaches to CER and to strengthen our work by reflecting on the concepts and practices of our research. We offer reflections on the meanings of “community,” “engagement,” and “research” in the context of on-the-ground community–university collaborations conducted by the Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance, a campus-based research center at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This account is provided in the spirit of sharing observations, insights, and lessons learned about CER, generated through its practice in a range of community-based research projects. Full article
22 pages, 3380 KiB  
Article
Las Voces de Mujercitas Empoderadas: Documenting Support for Youth with Youth Participatory Action Research
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(9), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12090483 - 30 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
Youth participatory action research (YPAR) is a critical approach that engages youth as collaborative partners in research. It acknowledges the unique expertise that youth have on the adversities and assets that are present in their familiar systems, such as schools and the community. [...] Read more.
Youth participatory action research (YPAR) is a critical approach that engages youth as collaborative partners in research. It acknowledges the unique expertise that youth have on the adversities and assets that are present in their familiar systems, such as schools and the community. These projects are often designed to identify and address community problems; however, our projects with local youth aimed to shed light on a pre-existing community asset, Salud y Cariño, an after-school community organization, and a particular moment in time, namely the pandemic shelter-in-place. The mission and epistemologies of the organization set forth by the co-founder and Executive Director informed our partnership and guided our approach to this work. Utilizing qualitative methodologies, the authors (a faculty member, two graduate students, co-founder and director of a local non-profit, and a high school senior) collaboratively designed and implemented an interview-style documentary and photovoice projects, which garnered testimonies on participants’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding school and the community organization. By centering the perspectives of participating Latinx girls and non-binary youth, we demonstrate the effects of this local community organization on its participants during and after the COVID lockdown, and what it means to the youth they serve. The identified themes associated with program participation during this time include the following: (1) building community and a family, (2) creating a welcoming safe space, and (3) infusing love and happiness into everyday activities. We conclude by reflecting on the process of building these collaborative projects and their implementation. Our reflections and findings contribute new insights into utilizing YPAR approaches to research and showcase leading community assets and actors. Full article
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17 pages, 271 KiB  
Article
Central Coast Regional Equity Initiative: Co-Creating and Actionizing a New Community-Led Equity Framework
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(8), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12080441 - 03 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
We present a community-led equity framework as a foundation for promoting equity on the Central Coast of California. We discuss the key elements of a participatory, community-led evaluation and planning approach for the Central Coast Regional Equity Initiative, which aims to advocate for [...] Read more.
We present a community-led equity framework as a foundation for promoting equity on the Central Coast of California. We discuss the key elements of a participatory, community-led evaluation and planning approach for the Central Coast Regional Equity Initiative, which aims to advocate for social, health, environmental, and economic equity through region-wide cross-sector collaboration, community and research-informed action, and an indigenized and decolonized approach. Through a systematic mixed-methods evaluation and planning approach, including Community Consultations and Strategic Action Planning, we found that our community’s lived experience contributes to a deeper understanding of inequities, and that engagement in cross-sector collaboration empowers our community to bridge data with action organizing. The findings demonstrate that engagement in community-led evaluation and planning contributes to a greater readiness for cross-sector collaborative action and a sense of community ownership of solutions to equity issues, and sets the stage for deeper-rooted, long-term success built on genuine reciprocity and trust. We present our community-led equity framework inviting others to adopt systematic community knowledge-base-building that values community wisdom, identifies power imbalance, promotes trust-building through healthy discomfort, and encourages reflective action. Full article
16 pages, 360 KiB  
Article
Co-Powering Solutions to Truck Pollution in South Stockton
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(8), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12080440 - 02 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Despite decades of literature and practice with community-engaged research along with advancements in the recognition of environmental injustices, the application of equity-/justice-based and collaborative approaches between government agencies and community-based organizations has been limited. The toxic legacies of environmental racism, redlining, displacement, and [...] Read more.
Despite decades of literature and practice with community-engaged research along with advancements in the recognition of environmental injustices, the application of equity-/justice-based and collaborative approaches between government agencies and community-based organizations has been limited. The toxic legacies of environmental racism, redlining, displacement, and segregation combined with the accelerating human-caused climate crisis warrant an increased need for consultation and collaboration between frontline communities and power brokers to markedly improve quality of life and health outcomes in environmental justice neighborhoods. This paper describes the processes and progress to date from a community-led collaboration between local community-based organizations and the Enforcement Division of the California Air Resources Board to assess and address air pollution in South Stockton, particularly from heavy-duty diesel trucks. South Stockton is one of the most polluted neighborhoods in California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most disparate and polluted regions in the United States. Some of the most significant components integrated into this project thus far include taking an equity-, justice-, and youth-oriented approach to community development that intentionally emphasizes a historical understanding of root causes of social and environmental injustices and provides pathways to workforce development. Including these elements has been essential in building the trust necessary to transform disparate power relations between the state and environmental justice communities, and to put multiple ways of knowing into conversation with each other to co-learn and co-power solutions to air pollution in South Stockton. Full article
19 pages, 1064 KiB  
Article
It’s a Matter of Trust: How Thirty Years of History Prepared a Community-Based Organization to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(8), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12080423 - 25 Jul 2023
Viewed by 939
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic drew public attention to the essential work and vulnerability of low-income Latina immigrants. Less recognized were the ways immigrant community organizations mobilized under exceptional conditions to provide immediate support to their communities while continuing to work toward durable systematic change. [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic drew public attention to the essential work and vulnerability of low-income Latina immigrants. Less recognized were the ways immigrant community organizations mobilized under exceptional conditions to provide immediate support to their communities while continuing to work toward durable systematic change. This paper analyzes the approach of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over three decades, MUA developed an organizing model that builds transformative relationships among peers and provides direct services and leadership development for civic engagement. MUA has a long history of research collaborations and self-study aligned with critical community-engaged research methods and values. In 2019, MUA formed a research team of its leaders and academics to analyze the impact of their model. Since data collection occurred between March 2020 and December 2022, the research also documented the organization’s response to COVID-19. This paper argues that specific organizational values and practices of liderazgo, apoyo, and confianza (leadership, support, and trust) proved to be particularly powerful resources for sustaining individuals and community work through the pandemic, enabling women who have experienced multiple forms of structural violence to perceive themselves as capable of healing themselves and their communities while working to address root causes of trauma and inequity. Full article
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17 pages, 322 KiB  
Article
Research and the Challenge of Participation—The Experience of the Research Project “Distressed Neighborhoods through the Prism of Youth” (ANR Pop-Part)
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(7), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12070415 - 20 Jul 2023
Viewed by 830
Abstract
Based on a participatory research project on the practices and representations of young people in distressed neighborhoods, this article examines the contributions and limitations of a participatory approach in terms of scientific production. How does participation affect social science research? How does it [...] Read more.
Based on a participatory research project on the practices and representations of young people in distressed neighborhoods, this article examines the contributions and limitations of a participatory approach in terms of scientific production. How does participation affect social science research? How does it challenge methodological and epistemological principles, knowledge building, and the nature of that knowledge? To what extent is it heuristically stimulating from this point of view? Full article
17 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
Re-Imagining Community and School through Youth and Artists’ Critical Superhero Storytelling
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060363 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1569
Abstract
In this article, we describe the methods and pedagogy that guided a superhero storytelling project, located in a midwestern middle school library, where youth were invited to work with a university-based research team and community-based artists who actively displaced historically formed practices of [...] Read more.
In this article, we describe the methods and pedagogy that guided a superhero storytelling project, located in a midwestern middle school library, where youth were invited to work with a university-based research team and community-based artists who actively displaced historically formed practices of surveillance and silencing in the service of amplifying youth artistry and knowledge production. We recognize that school practices in many schools, by virtue of their complicity with hierarchical and evaluative mandates, undermine open and exploratory forms of youth expression. The arts-based project we describe, informed by a ten-year history of small-scale storytelling projects in the same school, offers a theoretical and related pedagogical framework for working with community-based artists to re-imagine and remake oppressive relational, epistemological, and material practices in school spaces. At the center of our report are two groups of youth and the artists and educators who supported them as they invented superheroes and activated the imaginative potential of their local community spaces for their storytelling. Full article
14 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
Community Voices on the Experiences of Community-Based Participatory Research in the Environmental Justice Movement
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060358 - 17 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2652
Abstract
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is increasingly being used by academics to address urban health and inequity. While its foundational literature emphasizes CBPR’s role in eschewing the traditional balance of power between communities and institutions, some scholars and grassroots activists note that it has [...] Read more.
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is increasingly being used by academics to address urban health and inequity. While its foundational literature emphasizes CBPR’s role in eschewing the traditional balance of power between communities and institutions, some scholars and grassroots activists note that it has not consistently delivered community-led, action-oriented strategies. Here we examine gaps between theory and current practice of CBPR. First, we assess its fundamental practices through social movement theory. Second, we examine narratives from grassroots leaders who have utilized CBPR in their environmental justice efforts. Three key facilitating factors are often cited for authentic applications of CBPR: (1) grounding research within community-specific opportunities for change, (2) collaborating with a strong community partner, and (3) facilitating flexibility in research processes. Building on previous scholarship, we investigate the complexity of CBPR implementation that may dampen its potency as a social change strategy and highlight the need for nuanced and critical application of best practices to suit local contexts. This is accomplished by pairing the theoretical framework with the experiences of four community leaders who are members of the Moving Forward Network (MFN). Narratives from their experiences with partnering with academic institutions speak to how theoretical complexities with CBPR occur in practice. Full article
24 pages, 375 KiB  
Article
Belonging and Its Barriers: A Critical Perspective of Latiné and Mixed-Status Families’ Experiences
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060355 - 16 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1570
Abstract
This article presents findings from a four-year collaborative research project on immigrant and mixed-status families in Santa Cruz County, California. The project employed a new model of critical community-engaged scholarship called Community Initiated Student Engaged Research (CISER) in order to gain access to [...] Read more.
This article presents findings from a four-year collaborative research project on immigrant and mixed-status families in Santa Cruz County, California. The project employed a new model of critical community-engaged scholarship called Community Initiated Student Engaged Research (CISER) in order to gain access to and build trust with this vulnerable population. The study used an overarching theoretical framework of “belonging” to identify six key factors most consequential for belonging and/or exclusion, including access to education, economic security, legal immigration status, health services, opportunities for youth, and social networks. The findings reveal the complex and interconnected nature of these factors and demonstrate how exclusion experienced due to a lack of legal immigration status had far-reaching effects on interviewees’ job prospects and experiences of economic, health, and housing insecurity. The article highlights the importance of using an assets-based approach to draw out the myriad ways interviewees and communities create spaces, networks, and ways to promote and enhance both material and emotional forms of belonging. The CISER model and its participatory approach also provide tangible benefits for community partners and undergraduate researchers. This article contributes to the literature on immigrant experiences and critical community-engaged research while offering insights into sources of and systemic barriers to collective belonging. Full article
18 pages, 691 KiB  
Article
Experiential Learning: Conferences as a Tool to Develop Students’ Understanding of Community-Engaged Research
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060352 - 13 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1739
Abstract
The purpose of this paper of practice is to explore the use of a “Conference as Curriculum” model to develop student understanding of critical approaches and challenges and opportunities in the field of community-engaged research (CER). Two higher education institutions in California’s Monterey [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper of practice is to explore the use of a “Conference as Curriculum” model to develop student understanding of critical approaches and challenges and opportunities in the field of community-engaged research (CER). Two higher education institutions in California’s Monterey County sent 22 students to the “All-In: Co-Creating Knowledge for Justice” Conference in Santa Cruz, California USA in October 2022. The undergraduate and graduate students were funded through their academic institutions and accompanied by faculty and staff working on community-engaged research. Participation in the conference involved a pre- and post-conference convening to prepare students for the conference and then guide students through reflections on their learning and future work. The experiential learning activities offered in conjunction with the students’ conference attendance were designed to: (1) foster students’ connection to the community and each other; (2) develop students’ understanding of community-engaged research; and (3) build students’ professional acumen through attending a professional conference. Two authors of this article share their experience as student attendees at the conference. The student vignettes provide insight on the authors’ learning experiences and offer design implications for the use of cohort conference attendance as an experiential learning activity. The article presents a conference experiential learning model that could be replicated and modified by other higher education institutions. We also place the project within a greater inter-institutional initiative to build a model for community-driven collaborations that seeks to address challenges surrounding higher education engagement with local nonprofits and governments. Full article
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22 pages, 1835 KiB  
Article
The Reciprocal Power of Equitable, Intergenerational Learning: Exploring Perspectives of Undergraduate Students about Engaging in a University–Community Partnership Program
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060349 - 13 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Our qualitative study is a deep exploration into the underexamined notion of engagement with respect to undergraduate students who took up the role of co-researchers within an afterschool program designed to engage young students about environmental issues and sustainability practices. This research program [...] Read more.
Our qualitative study is a deep exploration into the underexamined notion of engagement with respect to undergraduate students who took up the role of co-researchers within an afterschool program designed to engage young students about environmental issues and sustainability practices. This research program is based on a community-based literacies framework that addresses all members (program leaders, graduate students, undergraduate students, and young students) as co-learners. This study explores the largely unknown experiences of undergraduate students in informal learning contexts, which broadly center youth experiences. We took a critically framed approach (i.e., mindful of institutionalized inequities–known as a kind of silencing—for traditionally marginalized populations) in our analysis of interview responses from 11 undergraduate students involved in an afterschool environmental program for young students living in a Latinx neighborhood in central California. Our analysis involved a two-phase process that began with a general thematic exploration of transcribed interviews followed by in-depth, microlevel transcription of salient instances regarding community engagement. Responses suggest that the community-based context enabled a deep engagement founded on shared cultural practices, life experiences, and engaging in disciplinary projects (e.g., building and planting an edible garden). This study is a contribution to the long-needed insights into the importance of community engagement and leadership experiences during undergraduate learning, particularly for traditionally marginalized students. Findings may be informative to educators and researchers striving to transform college experiences for diverse student populations. Full article
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13 pages, 367 KiB  
Article
Black and Indigenous Solidarity in Social Sciences: Leaning into Our Nuanced Racialized Identities and Healing Together
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060347 - 12 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1879
Abstract
Our co-authored piece contributes to Black and Indigenous solidarity juxtaposed to our nuanced and convergent lived experiences as racialized people. Lauren and I (Nate)co-explore how our racialized identities and stories may complexify Black-and-Indigenous-led movements. We say “racialized” to acknowledge white supremacists’ racecraft to [...] Read more.
Our co-authored piece contributes to Black and Indigenous solidarity juxtaposed to our nuanced and convergent lived experiences as racialized people. Lauren and I (Nate)co-explore how our racialized identities and stories may complexify Black-and-Indigenous-led movements. We say “racialized” to acknowledge white supremacists’ racecraft to subjugate Black and Indigenous people. Lauren, an Indigenous educator activist, and I, a Black scholar activist, both with white maternal lineage, connected after storying about our journeys to, through, and beyond the teaching profession. Black and Indigenous educators have centered theories of we are not free until we are all free. Our knowledge contributions further complexify freedom-for-all by offering Black and Indigenous knowledge on nuanced ancestry within the U.S. racialization project. Conversational data stemmed from an educator activist collective project where Lauren and I had many conversations about our similar and unique journeys toward our justice orientation. Our conversations yielded many Black and Indigenous solidarity learnings. These co-learnings included: building solidarity through weaving our unique stories, extending nuanced understandings of racialized experiences, and co-regulation in societal spaces not made for us. We conclude with implications in continuing to build solidarity in social science. Full article
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19 pages, 353 KiB  
Article
Aligning Community-Engaged Research Methods with Diverse Community Organizing Approaches
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(6), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12060343 - 09 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1359
Abstract
Community-Engaged Research (CER) often involves partnerships between academic or professional researchers and community organizers. Critical CER and organizing each aim to mobilize people and resources to produce actionable knowledge in order to build grassroots leadership and power that promote equity and justice for [...] Read more.
Community-Engaged Research (CER) often involves partnerships between academic or professional researchers and community organizers. Critical CER and organizing each aim to mobilize people and resources to produce actionable knowledge in order to build grassroots leadership and power that promote equity and justice for marginalized communities. This article argues that critical CER collaborations can benefit by carefully matching the choice of research methods with community partners’ organizing strategies to ensure that research aligns with and supports organizing goals. We aim to add to the CER literature a more specific rationale for why professional researchers should share control over the choice of research methods with community organizers, and more detailed guidance for how CER teams can select methods that best advance organizers’ goals. After summarizing the many ways in which collaborative research can support community organizing efforts, we argue that different CER methods align best with widely-used organizing approaches (including Alinskyite, Freirean, feminist, community building and resilience-based, and transformative approaches). We illustrate the discussion with examples of research conducted by and with organizations rooted in the environmental justice (EJ) movement, which prioritizes community organizing as a strategy and draws from multiple organizing traditions, including a case study of research techniques used by the Environmental Health Coalition, one of the oldest EJ groups in the U.S. Full article
16 pages, 471 KiB  
Article
Creating the Current and Riding the Wave: Persistence and Change in Community-Engaged Health Sciences Research
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(5), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12050312 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Recent decades have seen considerable increases in funding and support for community-engaged research (CER) in the health sciences, including the introduction of community engagement requirements into federally funded research infrastructure programs. This paper asks why, despite these supports and incentives, even the best-intentioned [...] Read more.
Recent decades have seen considerable increases in funding and support for community-engaged research (CER) in the health sciences, including the introduction of community engagement requirements into federally funded research infrastructure programs. This paper asks why, despite these supports and incentives, even the best-intentioned researchers and research organizations may struggle to design, implement, and sustain successful community engagement strategies. This question is examined using an exploratory case study of an environmental health sciences research center whose strategies were influenced in part by a requirement by the funder to incorporate community engagement into its research activities. This study utilizes multiple sources of qualitative data collected between the research center’s second and fifth years of operation, including participant observation, interviews, and focus groups. The analysis employs an organizational perspective, yielding insights into the factors hindering and facilitating the development of practices that integrate community perspectives and control into academic structures. The findings point to an ongoing dialectic between support for innovative community engagement practices and persistence of conventional academic structures. We highlight the interconnected effects of environmental influences, organizational structures, and individual agency on the development of innovative community engagement practices. The implications for future research and practice are discussed. Full article
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18 pages, 622 KiB  
Article
Promoting Food Systems Paradigm Shifts through Critical Reflexivity: Exploring Interviews as Intervention
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(5), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12050280 - 04 May 2023
Viewed by 1031
Abstract
This article highlights the transformative power of community-engaged research for food sovereignty through an examination of reflexive interviewing and knowledge co-production with community partners. Initially, we connected with an urban Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm to explore farmers’ concerns regarding their export of [...] Read more.
This article highlights the transformative power of community-engaged research for food sovereignty through an examination of reflexive interviewing and knowledge co-production with community partners. Initially, we connected with an urban Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm to explore farmers’ concerns regarding their export of food from marginalized areas of the city to predominantly affluent neighborhoods. Our response to confirmatory data was to explore CSA members’ interest in subsidizing shares for low-income residents. However, continued fieldwork revealed that similar charity-based approaches implemented by other food-access advocates were perhaps underutilized, given their basis in food security rather than more complex community-driven food sovereignty. Recognizing the need to understand the broader relationship between urban agriculture and food equity in SLC, we set out to research how university scholars can work with community partners and food advocates to advance food justice and sovereignty. Through dialogic methods, we explore how critical reflexivity can be embedded in research protocols such that researchers and interviewees reflect on their own biases, thus shifting the outcomes and research processes. Through a retrospective review of data collection, we highlight interactional strategies to promote critical reflexivity before proposing an interview framework that prompts paradigm shifts towards food sovereignty. Full article
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