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Contextualising empowerment practice: negotiating the path to becoming using participatory video processes

Shaw, Jacqueline (2012) Contextualising empowerment practice: negotiating the path to becoming using participatory video processes. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Participation and empowerment are major drivers of social policy, but participatory projects often happen within contested territory. This research interrogates the assumed participation-empowerment link through the example of participatory video. Fieldwork unpacks the particular approach of Real Time, an established UK project provider. Disrupting representational framing, the emergent relational processes catalysed were explored in context, to address not whether participatory video can increase participants’ influence, but how and in what circumstances. This thesis therefore builds more nuanced understanding of empowerment practice as the negotiated (rhizomic) pathway between social possibility and limitation. Following Deleuze, a becoming ontology underpinned study of project actors’ experiences of the evolving group processes that occurred. An action research design incorporated both collaborative sense-making and disruptive gaze. Analysis draws on interpersonal and observational data gathered purposively from multiple perspectives in 11 Real Time projects between 2006 and 2008. Five were youth projects and six with adults, two were women-only and one men-only, two with learning-disabled adults and four aimed at minority-ethnic participants. Participatory video as facilitated empowerment practice led to new social becoming by opening conducive social spaces, mediating interactions, catalysing group action and re-positioning participants. Videoing as performance context had a structuring and intensifying function, but there were parallel risks such as inappropriate exposure when internal and external dialogical space was confused. A rhizomic map of Real Time’s non-linear practice territory identifies eight key practice balances, and incorporates process possibilities, linked tensions, and enabling and hindering factors at four main sequential stages. Communicative action through iteratively progressing video activities unfolded through predictable transitions to generate a diversifying progression from micro to mezzo level when supported. This thesis thus shows how participatory video is constituted afresh in each new context, with the universal and particular in ongoing dynamic interchange during the emergent empowerment journey.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Jacqueline Shaw
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Campbell, Catherine and Humphreys, Patrick

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