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On the Local Community: The Language of Disengagement?

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Mavhunga, Clapperton; Dressler, Wolfram H.
Journal: Conservation and Society
Volume: 5
Date: 2007
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2547
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): community development
participatory management
Abstract: "Social scientists advocate and steer participatory, grass-roots research to engage, transfer authority to, and empower 'the community.' Does this mark the end of centrist, top-down research initiatives? Probably not because those engaged in participatory research still interpret 'the local' and 'the community' in simplistic, discrete categories. Categories turn complex abstract settings into concrete solutions and conclusions. This dumbs down the social sciences. As a result, the use of such categories by researchers ensures that local settings remain simple so that themes and participants are readily accessible. Rather than allowing local people to speak on matters that concern them, participatory research ensures that researchers speak on behalf of 'the community.'"

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