Chapter

Speaking truth to power: experiencing critical research

Phil Scraton

in Researchers and their 'subjects'

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9781861345141
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303220 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861345141.003.0011
Speaking truth to power: experiencing critical research

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This chapter asserts the centrality of the relationship between the ‘researcher’ and the ‘researched’ in the context of conducting a critical research on the use and abuse of power in state institutions. The chapter begins by discussing the criticism ‘from below’, that mainstream social sciences' research has been implicated in maintaining the status quo, misrepresenting the experiences and lives of people marginalised and excluded by structural inequalities. The chapter traces the theoretical foundations of critical research and its potential for creating alternative accounts of those embodied in official discourse. It reflects on the process of researching the experiences of the bereaved in seeking truth and acknowledgement. It also demonstrates how a critical approach can secure participation, collaboration and integration of research ‘subjects’ — people — in the development of an inclusive research process. Finally, the chapter considers the methods of research, the responsibilities and ethical dilemmas faced by researchers and the challenges to the powerful that together comprise the process of critical research.

Keywords: relationship; researcher; researched; critical research; abuse of power; use of power; social science; process of researching; participation; collaboration

Chapter.  8839 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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