HomeParticipation: trick of neo-liberal capitalism or true perspective for the social sciences ?

HomeParticipation: trick of neo-liberal capitalism or true perspective for the social sciences ?

Participation: trick of neo-liberal capitalism or true perspective for the social sciences ?

La participation : ruse du capitalisme néo-libéral ou perspective d’avenir pour les sciences sociales ?

Journal des anthropologues n°178-179

Journal des anthropologues n°178-179

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Published on Thursday, May 25, 2023

Abstract

Anthropology, like the social sciences as a whole and a good number of academic disciplines, seems to be experiencing a “participatory turn”. How can we analyse the injunction to radically transform our ways of doing not only in the field but also outside it? Can applied anthropology, as it has been developing for many years in Quebec and in the Anglo-Saxon world, inform us about the real consequences of this evolution? These are some of the questions we wish to address in this issue. Simultaneously with the constitution of this file, we will open a research notebook that we hope will constitute the basis of a collaborative platform that will allow us to preserve the international contacts established during its production.

Announcement

Coordination

Lucie Gélineau, Agnès Jeanjean, Yves Lacascade, Nadine Wanono

Presentation

Anthropology, like the social sciences as a whole and a good number of academic disciplines, seems to be experiencing a "participatory turn". How can we analyse the injunction to radically transform our ways of doing not only in the field but also outside it? Can applied anthropology, as it has been developing for many years in Quebec and in the Anglo-Saxon world, inform us about the real consequences of this evolution? Is there not a risk that it will lead to a deprofessionalization and thus contribute not to the growth but to the decline of anthropology and other social sciences? Is it not in the margins and sometimes in the encounter between artistic practices, intervention practices and social sciences, that take shape the contours of an anthropology which would not be academic but could hold out hope for those who want to believe in the future of this discipline?

These are some of the questions we wish to address in this issue. Simultaneously with the constitution of this file, we will open a research notebook that we hope will constitute the basis of a collaborative platform that will allow us to preserve the international contacts established during its production.

Argument

In the social sciences, as in other academic disciplines, the issue of participation, and more specifically of "participatory research", is on the rise. As an evidence, we can mention the creation in 2011 of a "social sciences journal on democracy and citizenship" with an eponymous title (spelled in the plural). However, the coordinators of issue 32 of this publication noted in 2022 a constant retreat (within these new research practices) of "radical epistemologies" strongly associated since their appearance in the 1970s with methodologies valuing the plurality of knowledges, the equal recognition of the modalities of knowledge production and their dialogue.

This observation, as well as that of the ever-growing injunction made to researchers not only to recognize as subjects those whom the survey has during decades considered only as simple objects, but also to profoundly renew their methods by valuing the direct participation of new actors in the survey, lead us to attempt to document the effects, in anthropology in particular, of a new trend towards the use of a "participatory approach" : we wish to document the effects, in anthropology in particular, of a possible "participatory turn" by exploring some "blind spots" that have been partly neglected by those who promote it today. The file that we wish to compile on this theme will be developed along this three lines:

  1. In the first of these, we expect to receive answers to the following questions: to what extent is the issue of participation linked to the development of applied social sciences or humanities? Contributions based on examples from Quebec and the Anglo-Saxon world are particularly welcome, as they seem useful to observe and analyze, considering the tensions that run through them: are their emancipatig aims sometimes instrumentalized considering that they can be formulated at the request of the States themselves, or of project leaders, or of stakeholders, or of people who are primarly concerned ? Whow the use of participatory approaches by applied anthropology sheds light on the nature of the knowledge that unfolds and meets there, on the place that socially engaged research holds, and even on the nature-culture relationship which leads us to question who is able to take part in the "dialogue of the World" (Eduardo Kohn)? What does this reveal about the notion of "research cultures", about the boundaries between them and about the relationship between knowledge dialogue and knowledge production? What does it say about the nature and scope of participatory approaches, the necessity of polyvocality, and the attention to be paid to transmission in a public anthropology perspective?
  2. Doesn't this rise of the "participatory ideology" - which was promoted decades ago by Charles de Gaulle through his desire to develop a "stakeholder capitalism" - conceal in itself the risk of a deprofessionalization of searchers? And through the rise of this ideology, is it not the necessity and legitimacy of the existence of disciplines and of those who have become professionalized within them which is insidiously put into question? Doesn’t the declared or claimed ideal of democratization not only of the access to, but of the production of, knowledge considered under the angle of its heterogeneity, its multiplicity and its equal value conceal in reality a project - moreover perfectly perceptible through, for example, the successive reforms of the university - aiming at weakening and delegitimizing the SHS: the science "made by all" do not need (exclusively) anymore professionals to be accomplished, renewed, and even... taught. By agreeing to modify their practices in depth, researchers would thus be, in a way (without knowing it?), demonstrating their own uselessness. And if it is a question of revitalizing the critical approach, what do we think about other strategies (such as the "undercover" investigation possibly also practiced by non-professionals)? Through all of these questions, the second axis that we hope to document in this file takes shape.
  3. Finally, the question of participation, as it is envisaged and applied during the co-production of knowledge objects, questions our disciplines and allows us to identify experiments that enrich the anthropological approach. More often than not, the conditions of production directly influence the modalities of data dissemination and, to quote Olivier Auber, "the context directly influences the interaction at stake". How can an approach described as collaborative research evolve and change in the face of budgetary and institutional constraints, or space and time limits, if not by taking side roads? Freeing oneself from the constraints modifies the form of the restitutions in an infinite way. Therefore, who are the men and women who, by distancing themselves from the rules and values of the academic world, work in this perspective, within collaborative, community spaces that themselves struggle to preserve their space of existence, and what productions do they bring to light? in her book Creating with Mobile Media, Marsha Berrys (2017) proposes the notion of "creative practice research". In a parallele way, Danielle Boutet introduces the notion of "instaurative dynamics in creative research" with a quotation from Érik Bordeleau who specifies that "when we put words on our practice or on ourselves, we do not simply proceed to an objective and detached description of a reality: we complete, we finalize this reality". Hence the invitation that we make, in the third axis of this call, to the artists and to the researchers engaged in alternative forms of production of knowledge, to give us an account of their practices, and of the dynamics proper to their creations, highlighting the stakes and describing the perspectives they are bearers. In parallel to this issue of the JDA, we will open a research notebook for them, which we hope will constitute the basis of a collaborative platform that will allow us to preserve the international contacts established during the production of this file.

Terms of submission

Proposals for articles must include a title, an abstract of 2,500 to 4,000 characters and 5 keywords. They will mention the full names of the authors, their status and organization, as well as their e-mail address. They will be sent to the coordinators of this issue and to the JDA secretary:

  • Lucie_Gelineau@uqar.ca
  • agnes.jeanjean@gmail.com
  • y.lacascade@gmail.com
  • nadinewanono@gmail.com
  • secretariat.afa.01@gmail.com

before September 4, 2023

Calendar

  • Deadline for submission of paper proposals: September 4, 2023
  • Response to proposals: October 2023
  • Submission of articles in French or English: January 5, 2024. They should not exceed 40,000 characters including spaces and respect the JDA's guidelines. An abstract in French and another in English (10 lines maximum for each abstract) will be joined, 5 keywords (French and English). The titles will be in French and English.
  • Expected publication: November 2024

Date(s)

  • Monday, September 04, 2023

Keywords

  • anthropologie, science sociale, participation, enquête participative, déprofessionnalisation des sciences sociales, anthropologie appliquée, création artistique

Contact(s)

  • Yves Lacascade
    courriel : y [dot] lacascade [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Yves Lacascade
    courriel : y [dot] lacascade [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Participation: trick of neo-liberal capitalism or true perspective for the social sciences ? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 25, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1b84

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