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Reflexivity, positionality and power in cross-cultural participatory action research with research assistants in rural Cambodia

Khatri, RJ and Ozano, KA (2017) Reflexivity, positionality and power in cross-cultural participatory action research with research assistants in rural Cambodia. Educational Action Research. ISSN 1747-5074

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Abstract

This paper draws on the experiences of a doctoral student undertaking a cross-cultural, cross-language participatory action research (PAR) project in rural Cambodia. Cambodia is a largely Buddhist country with a complex history of religion, invasion, colonisation, war and oppression. Despite a democratic constitution, political control and fear of challenging authority are ever present; and all had an impact on the participation and development of this project. I recruited eight volunteer community health workers (CHWs) and two research assistants (RAs) with an aim to explore methods and challenges faced when trying to improve health with and for community members. Over eight participatory workshops and a two-day training session CHWs identified, implemented and reflected on solutions to community health problems. Simultaneously, the RAs and I reflected on the processes and challenges we faced. Creating opportunity for reflexivity allowed for discussion to emerge around culture, position and power and how these were impacting on the research process and outcomes. Established social hierarchical power structures in Cambodia presented challenges to undertaking a PAR project with emancipatory and social change aims. Such structures also impacted on the ability and readiness of participants to be critical and analytical. The importance of the RAs as cultural navigators and the necessity of embracing their situated knowledge as both an insider and outsider is a key finding. Keywords: Participatory action research (PAR), reflexivity, positionality, cross-language/culture, power, research assistants

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Action Research on 5th June 2017, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2017.1331860
Uncontrolled Keywords: 13 Education
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA0440 Study and Teaching. Research
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2018 09:46
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2018 05:39
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7926

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