Compose five statements, questions, and/or reservations that are important to you concerning
- "the challenge of bringing into interaction not only a wider range of researchers, but a wider range of social agents, and to the challenge of keeping them working through differences and tensions until plans and practices are developed in which all the participants are invested"
1. The problem of “expertise” emerges as I think about the “tensions” involved in collaboration. For example, many resist a cross-curricular program such as “Writing Across the Curriculum” because it asks instructors, who may not have been trained to teach writing, to teach writing. How do we resolve our insistence on individual expertise in collaborative projects?
2. On a related note, I’m interested in collaborative digital projects such as Wikipedia because they rely on “a wider range of social agents” (i.e. the contributions of “amateurs,” “citizen scientists”). How do we respond to ministers of truth who claim that such knowledge production is invalid or unreliable because it is not produced exclusively by “experts”?
3. Is knowledge produced collaboratively preferable to knowledge produced individually?
4. Do digital fora such as wikis increase or decrease investment in collaboration?
5. I often talk to my students about developing a tolerance for confusion/failure in reading difficult texts. How do we develop the same kind of tolerance in collaborative teams that encounter seemingly insurmountable roadblocks, cognitive dissonance, or institutional separation?
1. Similar to one of stories in the readings, if participatory knowledge generation is valuable, then why don’t we prepare our students (future researchers and faculty) to be able to do it? We live in a research culture that privileges forms of research (basic science) that reinforces individual (even privatized), disengaged inquiry. What needs to happen for other forms of research to be valued and reproduced?
2. Related to this: I recently spoke with a group of faculty about the implications of engaged research, and what emerged was what one faculty member – a lab researchers who did “pure” research – was what he repeatedly called a “fear” that valuing engaged research would mean devaluing basic research. He saw this as a zero-sum situation and expressed that engaged forms of research were threatening to him and his identity as a researcher and his stature in the university (defined in part by the research dollars he brought in). How do engaged researchers address these issues?
3. Does the distinction between local and trans-local lead to irresolvable tensions or does it allow for intersectionality of another kind of identity – what Gary Rhoades has recently called “local cosmopolitans” or “cosmopolitan-locals?”
4. What does participatory knowledge generation man not only for research but pedagogy?
5. If we want overcome “the challenge of keeping them working through differences and tensions until plans and practices are developed in which all the participants are invested," then do we as trained researchers in the University need to do more to develop the capacity of non-academics to become co-researchers/co-investigators in the research process? What are some examples of this?
1. Something that is needed - support from leaders about building in time for collaboration into normal work schedules, rather than allowing collaboration time to be seen as an extra thing to be squeezed in or a reserved for the time left over once we have already finished our “real work”.
2. What are the best practices for getting diverse perspectives out in the open early in the interactive process in a way that allows collaborators to manage the differences and tensions later?
3. What connects investment in the collaborative process with basic human needs? Do collaborators make attempts to identify their own?
4. What does it mean to have a support system that helps us to sustain and build our “moral courage” (Staub) as individuals and members of a community? What institutional barriers are associated with the need for strong moral courage?
5. We may sometimes perceive the collaborative vision as distracting from, or compromising our individual vision. We may also perceive our individual vision as something that can remain intact in equilibrium with others, all in support of the collaborative vision.
1. Coming from my family therapy/complex adaptive systems & developmental neurosciences: there are relational emotional regulation strategies that make us very sensitive to (& vulnerable to) power inequality in learning from differences, such that “power is ignorance without consequences” that is the powerful need to work harder to let “news of difference” or I/Thou listening for dialogue in Buber's sense in.
2. Just spoke to a colleague about a community health collaboration in which unspoken tensions about who gets respect and resources, intersecting around issues of academic prestige but complicated by race, gender & access to funding, ended up manifested as a lot of grandstanding which took up a lot of the atmosphere. I am especially concerned about power differentials associated with campus/community collaborations