New social contexts profit from the re-examination of anthropological tools: the participatory-action-ethnography approach applied to an Andalusian (Spain) context
(Pablo de Olavide University, Seville)
Francisco Maya-Rodriguez (Pablo de Olavide University)
Javier Escalera Reyes (Pablo de Olavide University)
Paper short abstract:
Analyzing the process and results of a collaborative work carried out by activists and social researchers, we will explore the utility of a participatory-action-ethnography approach for the research on experiences of activism within the context of a multidimensional crisis.
Paper long abstract:
Analyzing the process and results of a collaborative work carried out in Seville (Andalusia-Spain) by activists and social researchers, we will explore the utility of a Participatory-Action-Ethnography approach for the research on experiences of activism that have emerged or broaden within the context of a multidimensional crisis. The current crisis in Spain is spreading precarity among all areas of life. This situation is encouraging the emergence of new, and reinforcement of already existing forms of social, economic and political action, which distrust late-capitalism "traditional" institutions. Both a pragmatic logic, seeking to cover basic needs, as well as ethical and theoretical principles, influence these activisms. Hence, activisms' discourses and practices are developed though creativity and innovation, but also with a rhizomatic and changing nature, therefore making their analysis complex. Tools that complement the classical methodological approaches in social sciences are needed in order to analyze these activisms. The Participatory-Action-Ethnography approach hereby proposed is meant to combine: 1) the prominence of participation and the procedural nature of participatory action research, 2) the observation and acknowledgement of power relationships in the anthropologists-activists context, and 3) the deep, dense and descriptive nature of ethnography. By doing so, the object of research becomes an active subject, generating narratives and knowledge, while the influence of the research team on this object of research is explicitly recognized. We consider that this blending of methodological approaches facilitates the knowledge co-generation and shared action between academia and civil society, between theoretical approaches and communities of practice.
Collaborating in the field: participatory forms of anthropological research (re)examined