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Accepted Paper:

Activist Anthropology linking research, social action, and social movements in Chicago  
Pauline Lipman (University of Illinois-Chicago)

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores possibilities and complexities of activist anthropology linking critical research, social action, and social movements. Through five years of ethnographic and collaborative research and action with youth, teachers, and community members in struggles for education justice in Chicago, my research presents a structural and cultural critique that challenges dominant groups and ideologies, aims to contribute to public conversation about policy, voices experiences of African American and Latino parents marginalized in dominant discourse, and seeks to produce knowledge vital to the struggle. A basic assumption is that research and political engagement enrich each other, and that "knowledge is vital to social action" (Hale, 2008). While I contend that research that sides with those who are oppressed can, and should, support empowerment and liberation, this view collides with public assumptions about objectivity in social research. The paper examines complexities of negotiating these assumptions, expectations of community activists, and my roles.

Panel W045
Methodologies of participation and engagement
  Session 1