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Towards democratic scientific inquiry?: Participatory democracy, philosophy of science and the future of action research
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1902-5155
2015 (English)In: Action Research for Democracy: New Ideas and Perspectives from Scandinavia, Taylor and Francis , 2015, p. 199-215Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One common feature of different variants of Action Research and Interactive Research is the rejection of technocratic, undemocratic streaks in science and inquiry, particularly those emanating from different aspects of the still quite strong positivist and contemplative academic heritage (Toulmin 2001). Action Research was, from the Lewinian start, already seen as a form of research to further the democratic process. A basic impetus in Participatory Action Research and Interactive Research is bringing practitioners into the scientific research process (Fals-Borda & Rahman 1991; Nielsen & Svensson 2006). This chapter will focus on the explicit or implicit democratising ambitions and tendencies in many of these types of approaches. I believe most of us value democracy and would see science as in service to it. The point here is to take the argument a step further in line with a position of a leading researcher in the field of Acton Research, who wrote, “Democracy does not only function as ‘something that is good’, but also as a theory of science point of departure-as the system of thought underlying the construction of the concept and-at a later stage-the survey of ‘facts’ and shaping of praxis” (Gustavsen 1990, p. 98). Democratising science raises the question of whether science will become more or less scientific? How can participatory democracy contribute to the scientific quality of inquiry? Or does it stifle it? Will the democratising researcher lose scientific perspective and become a political activist or a consultant-be it of a managerial or emancipatory kind? How can the academic researcher be engaged, useful and democratic-as well as scientific-at the same time? The purpose of the chapter is to develop a number of different arguments for taking participatory democracy not only as an extra-scientific value that, however commendable, should not disturb the scientific process, but as a comparatively advantageous philosophy of science orientation for Action and Interactive Research (see, e.g. Novotny, Scott & Gibbons 2001; Toulmin & Gustavsen 1996). I develop five types of arguments-empirical, epistemological, moral, institutional and political-which commend participatory democracy as a philosophy of science point of departure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor and Francis , 2015. p. 199-215
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Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-43079DOI: 10.4324/9781315659909Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85062073299OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-43079DiVA, id: diva2:1304209
Available from: 2019-04-11 Created: 2019-04-11 Last updated: 2019-04-11Bibliographically approved

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Lindhult, Erik

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Citation style
  • apa
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