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Universities, Community Engagement, and Democratic Social Science

Universities, Community Engagement, and Democratic Social Science

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Title: Universities, Community Engagement, and Democratic Social Science
Author: Bourke, Alan Gerard
Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to identify and compare differences between institutional conceptualizations of community engagement with the understanding and practices of faculty engaged in community-based research (CBR), and analyze the implications of these differences. The study contrasts the model of community engagement that is being promoted by universities and the granting agencies (specifically the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) with what community-engaged researchers experience it to be, with a view to developing an analysis of the relationship between individuals and the political economy of research in which they work.

In Canada, universities are being encouraged by the federal government to assume greater responsibility for economic development and to translate knowledge into products and services for the market—while at the same time being tasked to work with communities in alleviating the social and economic excesses of the market. Drawing upon a qualitative, interview-based research design, my main line of argument is that there is a contradiction regarding the democratization of knowledge production between universities and communities that the institutionalization of community engagement promises—and the aligning of this process of knowledge production with market-driven forces and outcomes. The concern addressed in the dissertation is that the emancipatory intentions of community-based research are being co-opted by the entrepreneurial and managerial ethos influencing and structuring the "doing" of research. Such developments necessitate an interrogation of the institutional contexts in which participatory and community-engaged research are becoming positioned within the market-driven and performance-based governance of university research.
Subject: Sociology
Keywords: Community engagement
Social science research
Community-based research
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/30084
Supervisor: Erwin, Lorna
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Sociology
Exam date: 2015-04-01
Publish on: 2015-08-28

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