This weekend, I read several papers by Ann Masten and colleagues (see references below) on the topic of Risk and Resilience. Risk is defined as anything which endangers positive and healthy development–trauma, war, violence, abuse, and so forth. Resilience is the “ordinary magic” that helps “people overcome risk or adversity to succeed in life” (Masten, 2009). What’s great about a framework of risk and resilience is that it believes resilience is everywhere, that it is positive, and that it comes from relationships. I especially love the way that it offers actions everyone can take to promote resiliency. It has a wealth of research behind it that also offers a broad range of possible interventions to those who care about fostering resilience.
However, as I tweeted last night, I’m worried about the frame of risk and resilience:
Okay, yes, the name is ridiculous. But I think there’s something in this idea. I want to mashup Participatory Action Research (PAR) and a Connectivist MOOC (cMOOC). I have a few topics in mind, but the organizing idea is actually most important to me at this point. The fact that it could be called a “PARC MOOC” makes me think of getting out, being outside, being with others in public, and I think that’s good imagery to start with.
I see Participatory Action Research as a methodology that has ethical implications for research practice. Ethically, it shifts social research from being about other people to research as an everyday practice we do with other people to change the political, social, cultural, and economic circumstances of our lives. It’s not empowering, it’s offering tools to be self-determining. There’s tons of writing that supports this shift on the grounds that it is a kind of research that really respects people. I also added the phrase “everyday practice”, because I think in the world we live in (especially in the West) requires research to skillfully and effectively navigate it. I agree with Arjun Appadurai’s assertion that research can no longer be considered a skill that scholars gain over time, but a right to which we all have access (See Appadurai – the Right to Research). Continue reading