logo

Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

logo

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

06/10/2017

Open Democracy Post - "The streets will always be ours" - Catalonia, a referendum from below

alt
Although some still conceive of the referendum as launched by a pro-independence vanguard, the elite story falls short of explaining the resilient participation of a large part of Catalan civil society. This post at Open Democracy addresses this issue from a different angle.

24/09/2017

New Publication Out - "Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis"

alt
A timely publication to shed light on the link between social movements that formed as a consequence of the 2008 financial crash and the referendums' dynamic and results.

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

alt
Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Monograph - 2017

Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis

Donatella Della Porta, Francis O'Connor, Martin Portos and Anna Subirats Ribas
Out now "Social movements and referendum from below", the first book that bridges the gap between social movement studies and research on direct democracy. It draws on social movement theory to understand the nature of popular mobilisation in referendums using unique case studies such as the referendum on independence in Scotland, the consultations on independence in Catalonia, the Italian referendum on water, the referendum on the Troika proposals in Greece and the referendum on the debt repayment in Iceland.