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Mike Neary and Joss Winn

This report provides an interim account of a participatory action research project undertaken during 2015–16. The research brought together scholars, students and expert members of the co-operative movement to design a theoretically informed and practically grounded framework for co-operative higher education that activists, educators and the co-operative movement could take forward into implementation. Our dual roles in the research were as founding members of the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, an autonomous co-operative for higher education constituted in 2011 (Social Science Centre 2013), and as professional researchers working at the University of Lincoln. The immediate context for the research was, and remains, the ‘assault’ on universities in the U.K. (Bailey and Freedman 2011), the ‘gamble’ being taken with the future of higher education (McGettigan 2013), and the ‘pedagogy of debt’ (Williams 2006) that has been imposed through the removal of public funding of teaching and the concurrent tripling of tuition fees (Sutton Trust 2016).

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Lifelong Learning in Tokyo

A Satisfying Engagement with Action Research in Japan

Akihiro Ogawa

This article presents an action research project, which I have been managing since 2001 in Tokyo, Japan. It is based on a non-profit organization (NPO), a group that promotes community-oriented lifelong learning, which was established under the 1998 NPO Law. Action research is a social research strategy, carried out by a team that includes a professional researcher and members of a community who are jointly seeking to improve their situation. This paper shows primarily how I have engaged with people at my field site, an NPO called SLG (pseudonym), and how we have produced knowledge to make changes to improve the quality of social life for more than ten years. I provide a narrative concerning recent developments at SLG in order to demonstrate how an action research project like this continually unfolds.

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“Can You Really See What We Write Online?”

Ethics and Privacy in Digital Research with Girls

Ronda Zelezny-Green

The use of digital technology, particularly cell phones, is growing as a medium for data collection in social research. However, there remains concern about our implementing appropriate ethical practice when we are conducting digital research with people, including girls, who are considered vulnerable. In this article, I will discuss some of the ethical considerations that emerged during an action research project I undertook with a community of secondary school girls in Nairobi, Kenya. These considerations are related to privacy in connection with surveillance as a means of cell phone-based data collection. My aim is to initiate a scholarly dialogue on creating a framework of ethical practice for digital research with girls—particularly those who are infrequently given a voice in the literature on girlhood studies.

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Phil Tattersall

Conflict over natural resource usage has been ongoing in Tasmania for many years. There continues to be considerable community concern, disquiet and conflict over forestry management practices. In an analysis of his numerous community support projects the author saw an opportunity to involve community members in decisions relating to natural resource management. An interest in action research led him to propose a form of activism based on the ideas of post-normal science (PNS). The idea of the extended peer review aspect of post-normal science has been used in the development of a participative inquiry methodology known as community-based auditing (CBA). The contributions to theory and practice of PNS and environmental activism are thought to be significant. Several cases are briefly discussed.

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Lisen Dellenborg and Margret Lepp

This article describes the development of ethnographic drama in an action research project involving healthcare professionals in a Swedish medical ward. Ethnographic drama is the result of collaboration between anthropology and drama. As a method, it is suited to illuminating, addressing and studying professional relationships and organisational cultures. It can help healthcare professionals cope with inter-professional conflicts, which have been shown to have serious implications for individual well-being, organisational culture, quality of care and patient safety. Ethnographic drama emerges out of participants’ own experiences and offers them a chance to learn about the unspoken and embodied aspects of their working situation. In the project, ethnographic drama gave participants insight into the impact that structures might have on their actions in everyday encounters on the ward.

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Maria Karaulova, Patrick McGovern and Tim Battin

Qiongqiong Chen (2017) Globalization and Transnational Academic Mobility: The Experiences of Chinese Academic Returnees Singapore: Springer, 143 pp., ISBN 9789812878847

Brian Caterino (2016) The Practical Import of Political Inquiry London: Palgrave Macmillan, 117 pp., ISBN 973319324425

Morten Levin and Davydd J. Greenwood (2016) Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy: Action Research in Higher Education New York: Berghahn Books, 220 pp., ISBN 9781785333217

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“I Don't Want to Claim America”

African Refugee Girls and Discourses of Othering

Laura Boutwell

In this article I draw from the Imani Nailah Project, a participatory action research initiative with a group of African refugee girls living in the US. I examine a particular fusion of racialized, gendered, and nationalized narratives that discursively construct the refugee girl. I interrogate this discursively produced refugee girl construct and highlight how actual refugee girls interact with this discourse with a focus on resistance strategies and emergent counter narratives of citizenship. Throughout the article, I use italics when I am referring to the refugee girl construct in order to maintain a central focus on interrogating a sociopolitical discourse—the refugee girl—as a construct distinct from actual refugee girls. My central aim is to highlight spaces and moments when actual refugee girls are in conversation with this imposed refugee girl discourse.

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Anthropological Insights about a Tool for Improving Quality of Obstetric Care

The Experience of Case Review Audits in Burkina Faso

Marc-Eric Gruénais, Fatoumata Ouattara, Fabienne Richard and Vincent De Brouwere

The ratio of maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries is high. The World Health Organization (WHO) and public health specialists promote case review audits as a means of improving quality of obstetric care. This reflects the need for high reactivity in health personnel's management of obstetric complications. Within an action-research programme in Burkina Faso, a trial of case review audits was implemented in a maternity ward. This was designed to help health personnel better align their practice with clinical standards and to enable more consideration of pregnant women's needs. Social anthropologists were involved in these case review audits in order to collect data about pregnant women's lifestyles and circumstances. They also worked to train health personnel to conduct interviews. Although it is important to take account of women's circumstances within audit sessions, conducting interviews in 'anthropological ways' (at women's homes, with observations) is time consuming and may sometimes be better replaced with interviews in hospital contexts. Anthropologically informed interviews may pinpoint socio-economic situations as key reasons for problems in healthcare, but health personnel are usually powerless to address these. However, anthropology contributes an awareness of the relevance of these issues for broader healthcare planning.

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Kevin A. Yelvington

Academic social and cultural anthropology concerned with tourism has provided thick descriptions of the tourist exchange in a number of contexts, with exegeses devoted to illustrate the sexualized Other, the appropriation of landscape, the uses of the past in the present, and the detrimental effects of tourism structures on the ‘host’ communities. It has shown us how pilgrimages, beaches and museums become iconic and fetishized in the tourist’s gaze, how the landscape is appropriated and a geographical space is turned into a cultural place. Yet, for applied anthropologists concerned with the impacts of the world’s largest industry on local ‘toured’ populations and how the (unequal) tourism exchange is (unequally) constituted through material and symbolic historical processes, do the theories generated in the academic tradition provide a use-value? Do those anthropologists engaged in community-centred methods such as participatory action research, and working in theoretical traditions through praxis, approach their subject in the same ways as their nonapplied anthropological counterparts? Indeed, what can applied anthropologists, as such, and the consideration of applied projects, contribute to theory in anthropological research on tourism more generally?

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Davydd J. Greenwood and Morten Levin

The core argument is that social science must re-examine its mission and praxis in order to be a significant player in future higher education. This article reviews the results and prospects arising from a four-year international project. Originating in Greenwood and Levin's concern about the social sciences, the project, funded by the Ford Foundation, was organised as an action research network of social scientists. Meeting several times over four years, the assembled group of scholars shifted focus from the future of the social sciences to broader questions of the future of higher education as a whole and the possible role of the social sciences. Four issues emerged as vital future challenges:

• Collective denial among academics that knowledge production (research and teaching) is a collaborative effort and that individual academics depend on and are responsible for contributing to the health of the academic collectivity.

• Academic freedom, conceived as an individual right is under siege and will have to be reconstructed to include both individual rights and collective and institutional responsibilities and rights in higher education.

• An appreciation of the multiplicity of teaching, research and organisational factors that interact to constitute healthy universities is lacking in most quarters.

• Technologies of accountability now drive the development of higher education towards a focus on an artificially narrow metrics of knowledge-generation and away from inquiry into what constitutes relevant and sustainable knowledge-generation practices.