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Accepted Contribution:

Shifting patterns of collective action in low income urban communities: experiences from the African Cities Research Consortium  
Daniela C Beltrame (SDI Slum Dwellers International) Smith Ouma (University of Manchester) Diana Mitlin (University of Manchester) Beth Chitekwe-Biti (SDI Slum Dwellers International)

Contribution short abstract:

This paper examines the evolving relationship between academia and communities in collaborative research processes. Drawing on over two years of experience from the ACRC, it analyzes factors driving increased legitimacy, scale, and sophistication in communities’ modalities of collective action.

Contribution long abstract:

This paper examines the evolving relationship between academia and marginalized communities in collaborative research processes. Drawing on over two years of experience from the African Cities Research Consortium, it analyzes contextual factors driving increased legitimacy, scale, and sophistication in communities’ modalities of collective action.

Hegemonic knowledge production centered in the global North-West has long marginalized alternative knowledge systems. However, networked communities leverage decades of struggle into sophisticated strategies. As important knowledge creators, their legitimacy grows alongside attitudinal shifts by their collaborators and policy changes globally and within their contexts.

Specifically, national and local policy frameworks now acknowledge and create opportunities for marginalized communities to participate and make claims. Discourses on global platforms together with networks that these communities have established have also elevated and conferred legitimacy to their knowledge systems. Communities navigate legal and political openings while also drawing on their networks to advance their epistemic project. This enables them to scale their initiatives and to further sophisticate their modalities for collective action.

By analyzing these together with other contextual drivers and reflecting on the challenges that have been faced and overcome, this paper aims to elucidate new pathways for amplifying and supporting collective action for social justice in general, and epistemic justice in particular. It does this, by recognizing the drivers behind marginalised communities’ increased and sophisticated repertoires of engagement, and exploring how these can be nurtured further in their collaborations with academic and other partners.

Workshop PE02
Community knowledge in academic research: in pursuit of epistemic justice
  Session 3 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -