Abstract | Abstract
This contribution offers a reflection on the shift in social science towards participative enquiry and collaborative research practices. In doing so, the paper challenges the common conception that the methodological indeterminacy that participatory research may occasion undermines its scientific credentials by rendering its processes and outcomes vulnerable to idiosyncratic events, subjective interpretations, local variability and chancy outcomes. The focus of the article is not just that participatory processes require research flexibility to enhance the pragmatic outcomes of research, but that the researcher’s theory and methodology may need to be recalibrated from discipline-controlled givens to publicly-negotiable points of departure. This latter point expands the paper’s argument to advocate for research that has “the power to be affected” (Hardt 2007, x) by the views, feelings and experiences of those it targets, and of those affected by its processes and conclusions. Using video-reflexive ethnography to illustrate this point, the article exemplifies what it means for the researcher(s) to be affected by the constraints inherent in their own research approach and disciplinary priorities (Iedema 2021).