08 SES 09, The Politics of Health Education Research: Exploring the possibility of transformative research approaches.
According to Cheek (2017) neoliberalism works to make some problems visible and others not, some solutions visible, others not, and permeates and connects to all aspects of social, political, economy and research life. Research is produced under certain norms of what is perceived as a high standard. To have transformative impact in this context, while maintaining the necessity of critiquing how health and wellbeing are being framed in policy, research and practice, involves questioning how we are positioning ourselves and other stakeholders in our research. Critical education seeks to expose how relations of power and inequality are manifest, and shares a commitment to social transformation. Apple points out that a more robust understanding of power and inequality “involves fundamental transformations of the underlying epistemological and ideological assumptions that are made of what counts as ‘official’ or legitimate knowledge and who holds it” (Apple 2016: xii). In view of the above one can ask how critical health education research in its various approaches, (including Marxist-, structural-, and post-structural theory based approaches), respond to expectations of being both transformative and in transition.
This workshop raises questions about the possibility of transformative approaches in research in neoliberal times, allowing the participants to critically examine thinking and practice in health education research. The objective is to create a space for engaging with questions on where power is at play in research decisions, and to share strategies that can help resist ‘boxed in’ thinking.
The workshop is organized as an interactive session with brief presentations followed by ‘snapshot’ reflections across countries, contexts and disciplines. The main questions addressed in the workshop are: • What are the politics of health education research? Is it possible to maintain a critical edge in research in a conservative context? • How can we better understand the situation, we find ourselves in, better manage or navigate it? • What are some of the continuities and discontinuities seen within and across transnational contexts regarding the struggles experienced and forms of resistance being employed?
The workshop will be concluded with a discussion of where we go from here, considering key challenges and concerns
Apple, M. (2016) Introduction. Gottesmann, I. The critical turn in Education. Routledge, p. xi-xv. Cheek, J. (2017) Qualitative inquiry, research marketplaces, and neoliberalism: adding some +s (pluses) to our thinking about the mess in which we find ourselves. Denzin, N.K. and Giardina, M.D. (eds.) Qualitative Inquiry in Neoliberal Times. Routledge, p. 19-36.
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