oa Journal of Education - Deconstructing participatory research in an HIV/AIDS context

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



Participatory research is frequently fore-grounded as an innovative approach to knowledge production, which, in contrast to the more traditional controlled research methods, engages participants in meaningful exchanges with researchers. In this article, we argue that participatory research has its own complexities and contradictions. We draw on data emanating from a research project aimed at mapping barriers to basic education in an HIV and AIDS context in the Richmond area, South Africa. Using post-structuralist notions of power, we explore constructs of voice, situated ethics, knowledge, emancipation and researcher reflexivity in order to determine to what extent and in what ways the use of participatory research methods is truly participatory.

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