Thursday, October 01, 2009

Roskilde day IV - Louise Phillips

"How to analyse knowledge production processes in collaborative research on virtual worlds: an interdisciplinary approach combining dialogic communication theory, STS and action research." Louise Phillips have noticed that research projects usually involves working together to produce knowledge and she argues that the people who often are called informants or respondents are indeed co-researchers, and ought to be recognized as such. Phillips's empirical focus: how knowledge is co-produced.

Two themes
1) How to reflect on and analyse relations between you as a researcher and the other research actors/participants/informants/respondents using multiperspectival framework
2) How to analyse the negotiation of knowledge forms, (expert) identities and power relations among social actors in empirical field under study

Case-study on collaborative research on virtual worlds
• What happens when university researchers invite other actors to join a collaborative research process as co-producers of knowledge?
• How is knowledge created through the negotiation of knowledge forms in social interaction among the different participating actors in collaborative research?
• A practical orientation: How can that knowledge be used in both research and design?

Material: participant observation and sound capture (from a series of workshops in this case)

Multiperspectival analytical framework: combining three perspectives on the tension in dialogue-based research communication practices, not to produced a more objective form of knowledge but to capture the complexity of what we're analysing.

Science Studies
Insight into tensions in shift to form of scietific governance based on rhetoric of dialogue and citizen engagement. Top-down and down-up.

Action Research
Insights into how research ideals in collaborative social scientific and humanities-based research are difficult to live up to in practice. (Difficult to live up to these ideals while at the same time making supervisors, respondents, or other interested partners happy.)

Dialogic communication theory
• Concept of dialogue as a quality of communication that entails remaining in the tension between maintaining one's own position whilst being open to the position of the other (Pearce and Pearce, Bakhtin)

• Tension between creating a space for a plurality of voices and orchestrating the process, such that some kind of coherent structuring of voices is produced - "a chorus rather than a cacophony" (Pearce and Pearce 2001:115)

• Point that dialogic moments can occur in non-dialogic talk (Black 2008).

Specific questions
• What voices are articulated? Particular forms of knowledge and when and how are they articulated and heard? (Not "How can we create a 'power free dialogue'?" - Habermas, instead "How do the inevitable power structures play out, change and evolve?" - Foucault)

• To what extent, when and how does the interaction among collaborating actors open up for voices that construct plural forms of knowledge? (centrifugal tendency)

• To what extent, when and how does the interaction circumscribe the opening up for different voices and construct a singular project "we" and singular forms of knowledge? (centripetal tendency)

Louise Phillips's aim is not to work towards resolving these tensions and power relations, but to open up for reflexive deliberation among the collaborating research actors.

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