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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

14/09/2018

Andrea Pirro appointed as new editor of East European Politics

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Andrea Pirro has been recently appointed as new editor of the journal East European Politics published by Taylor and Francis.

31/08/2018

Volkswagen foundation Grant 2018 for Manuela Caiani

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Manuela Caiani has been awarded the Volkswagen Grant 2018 for the research project Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe, that will be directed by Mario Dunkel (University Carl von Ossietzky of Oldenburg, Germany).

30/07/2018

ERC Starting Grant 2018 for Alice Mattoni

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Alice Mattoni, Research Fellow at COSMOS and Assistant Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore, has been awarded the ERC Starting Grant 2018 for the research project BIT-ACT: Bottom-up initiative and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption.

Publications

Journal Article - 2018

New Technologies as a Neglected Social Movement Outcome: The Case of Activism against Animal Experimentation

Manès Weisskircher
Based on novel empirical research, this paper analyzes a crucial and understudied case of a movement pushing for new technologies: the animal rights movement and its efforts to push for alternatives to animal experimentation.

Journal Article - 2018

Mobilizing in transnational contentious spaces: linking relations, emotions and space in migrant activism

Elias Steinhilper
The article illustrates how the transnational spaces most migrants inhabit can be politicized and transformed into particular social formations, for which the term ‘transnational contentious spaces’ is suggested.