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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Involving Communities as Skilled Learners: The STRAP Framework

Chiara Milan and Stefania Milan

This chapter offers a ready-to-use community engagement checklist for research in the field of communication for social change. It presents practical questions that any researcher should deal with if willing to involve communities and grassroots groups as active agents with their own values, modes of interactions, and needs. It explains how to promote cycles of dialog, action and reflection throughout the project, and after its conclusion.

Type: Chapter in edited book
Year: 2016

Conducting research in the field of communication for social change typically entails working closely with communities and grassroots groups. Whereas substantial scholarly attention has been given to the various methodologies and to the researcher’s self-reflexive practices, little has been said on the involvement in the research process of communities as skilled learners. This chapter offers a ready-to-use community engagement checklist for research in the field of communication for social change. It presents practical questions that any researcher should deal with if willing to involve communities and grassroots groups as active agents with their own values, modes of interactions, and needs. It explains how to promote cycles of dialog, action and reflection throughout the project, and after its conclusion.

The chapter is situated in the perspective of ‘engaged research’, which “without departing from systematic, evidence-based, social science research, [is] designed to make a difference for disempowered communities and people beyond the academic community” (Milan, 2010, p. 856). It develops around five main issue-areas, each representing a challenge to researchers and addressing a distinct side of the research process: relevance of the research to the community; power, in recognition of the unbalanced relationship that research establishes between the investigator and the research object; translation of research findings for community use and benefit; transparency of the research design and sharing of data and research results, and accountability towards research objects. Each surfaces at one or more phases of the research project, from the selection of research questions to the choice of methods, to theory building and the publication of results. The chapter is grounded on concrete fieldwork experience by the authors, respectively with community radio stations across the world and rural communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and complemented by the experience of affiliated researchers working with migrant communities and women’s groups.

Wildermuth, Norbert, and Teke Ngomba (eds.), Methodological Reflections on Researching Communication and Social Change, Basingstoke (UK): Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 9-28

https://www.palgrave.com/de/book/9783319404653

News

05/03/2019

A dialogue on labour, trade unions and conflicts

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On the 22nd of March, from 4pm to 7pm, Donatella della Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore) and Maurizio Landini (Secretary General of CGIL) will discuss about labour, trade unions and conflicts.

05/02/2019

Call for Papers - Social Movements and Parties in a Fractured Media Landscape

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The call for papers is now open for a two-day symposium held under the auspices of the journal ‘Information, Communication & Society’ (iCS) at the Centre on Social Movement Studies, 1-2 July 2019.

Publications

Journal Article - 2019

Ballots and barricades enhanced: far‐right ‘movement parties’ and movement‐electoral interactions

Andrea Pirro
This contribution enhances our understanding of the contemporary far right by focusing on the neglected links between movements and elections within the broader context of contention.

Journal Article - 2019

From the Rainy Place to the Burnt Palace: How Social Movements Form their Political Strategies. The Case of the Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba

Leonidas Oikonomakis
Exploring the case of the cocaleros of the Chapare, this article argues that more emphasis should be placed on mechanisms that are internal to the movements, such as: (a) the resonance of other political experiences at home and abroad, (b) internal struggles for ideological hegemony, and (c) the political formation of their grassroots.