Convivial Research

The convivial research approach presented here engages the tradition of participatory, politically situated practices of collective, community-based knowledge production by highlighting transdisciplinary, reflexive investigative approaches that prioritize local, situated, and poetic knowledges. Similar to participatory action or militant research, the convivial research approach presented here insists that a successful research project specifies an object of study, research agenda, direct action(s), and system of information and that these be the result of collective efforts to solve local problems and advance the shared interests of a community of struggle. Committed to exploring collective processes and strategies, convivial research refuses to objectify communities of struggle and encourages the appropriation of a wide variety of investigative tools or technologies to amplify the poetic and situated knowledges of an emerging group.

As part of that effort, convivial research necessarily invests in investigative processes that generate oppositional knowledges in an ethical, explicit, and modular manner, inviting participants to engage each component and invent new tools as the process unfolds. Our goal in treating research as transparent and strategic underscores how knowledge production is always an on-going, interactive, conflictive, and contradictory process.

Research is a cultural tool, or what James Wertsch calls a mediated action, that is, it’s a socially constructed activity organized and executed by specific agents operating in situated contexts and constrained by a number of "affordances." Like any cultural tool, research is a mediated action with social and political dimensions that inform how it is devised, executed, circulated, and interpreted.