Using participatory approaches within violent contexts calls for special attention to be paid to a range of issues and questions.
Much of current development policy and practice does not take into account the degree to which violence can shift dynamics of power, identity, and affiliations, and therefore lead to radically different and sometimes negative outcomes from approaches that would be appropriate in other settings. This article argues that using action research in contexts of violence requires careful consideration of the following issues: the entry points for the research process; the way that risks are generated and experienced and the ethical implications of this; the differentiated experiences of violence and how these affect the action research process; and, the complexities of how violence affects the power/knowledge nexus. It describes some of the key steps taken in order to do action research in a situation where power is constantly shifting, and the practical implications of this analysis.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 43.3 (2012) Guns, Silences, and Change: Using Action Research in Contexts of Violence