Methodologies for researching with the most disadvantaged in situations of conflict
12 May 2016
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Central to research on conflict are issues of social justice and social exclusion. While experiences of inequality and discrimination may contribute to hostilities, disadvantaged groups are also likely to experience some of the most negative effects of conflict – economically, socially and educationally. Despite this, research in situations of conflict often fails to capture (or to capture effectively) the perspectives of the most disadvantaged. In some cases, this reflects the difficulties of gaining access to educational settings and participants in contexts characterised by suspicion, fear and displacement; in other cases, a focus on the role of political elites and international organisations can take precedence, marginalising other voices. Researchers who are able to overcome these challenges often find themselves faced with others: the contested nature of ‘disadvantage’ among different parties; the task of managing one’s identity as ‘insider’/’outsider’; and the frequent tension between the constructive and destructive roles of education in a divided society. Moreover, they may be faced with particular questions about the relevance, value and ethics of research in settings experiencing ongoing violent conflict.
The aim of this seminar is to explore the range of methodological concerns and issues encountered by researchers in this area, share experiences and perspectives from the field, and identify examples of effective practice in researching within the most disadvantaged in situations of conflict. The discussion will address topics such as:
effective approaches to involving disadvantaged and ‘hidden’ groups in research on education and conflict;
the concept of ‘disadvantage’ in situations of conflict and division;
the relationship between conflict and disadvantage in children and young people’s lives;
the ethical dimension of research with those most affected by conflict;
insider/outsider perspectives and issues of researcher reflexivity;
the purpose and impact of educational research with the most disadvantage in situations of conflict.
Registration, tea and coffee
Integrated education in Israel: anthropological reflections on the negotiation of identities and conflicting narratives Dr Zvi Bekerman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Researching youth marginalisation and punishment: reflections on critical social research in ‘post conflict’ Northern Ireland Dr Siobhán McAlister (Queen’s University Belfast)
Designing, delivering and evaluating interventions for war-affected children in Uganda and the DR Congo Dr John McMullen (Stranmillis University College) and Dr Paul O’Callaghan (Education Authority NI)
Roundtable discussions Facilitated by staff from the Centre for Shared Education, Queen’s University Belfast
Close of meeting
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