Juliet Willetts - Research paradigms for poverty alleviation


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  • Juliet
  • “Development’ often thought about narrowly as ‘economic’ development
    Journals in the ‘development’ field include:
    Multidisciplinary journals (World Development)
    Practice-based (Development in practice)
    Various social sciences ones
  • My experience over the last 10 years of doing research to support ‘development’ feels like this!
  • One of the underpinnings that has helped is that from TD.
    TD looks at the space BETWEEN disciplines…. And maintains that we need engagement/coordination across all four levels to make a useful contribution.
    For instance they point out that economics, without due attention to implicit value/ethical assumptions, can cause problems rather than solve them. Max Neef maintains that clear explication of ethics, values and morals guides problematisation- helps you ask appropriate and useful questions and answer them within the relevant disciplines.
  • WHOSE research question!?- for people to engage in the answer, it may be important that they are involved in formulating the question!!!
    Knowledge from one discipline is brought to bear on knowledge within another discipline
    Lay knowledge is included as legitimate and important form of knowledge
    Methodology evolves over time (not necessarily pre-conceived/decided)
    Different types of outcome arise:
    Addressing the problem
    Mutual learning
    Realm of peer review/knowledge/ theory-building
  • The pendulum!!
  • Different knowledges: local institutional partners who understand culture!! Bringing in ‘business’ disciplinary expertise- entrepreneurship/value-chains, bringing in political economy analysis- power dynamics explicitly considered. “Lay” voice- whose- entrepreneurs/business owners
    Relevance: address questions posed by NGOs- low density areas, work across 3 countries to have wider international relevance
    partnership with those whom research was to influence: NGO partners, integrally involved
  • different knowledges
    partnership with those whom research was to influence
  • CASES:
    How are sanitation problems usually solved? Standard ‘known’ technical solutions…. BUT, these miss the chance to do things differently, or to check if the ‘technical’ solution will work in the institutional/social/political context, and
    different knowledges: engineering, economics, politics!!!
    ethics: being outsiders, existing power- buy in or resist?
    rigour: what level of detail to go to?????- how to assist decisions on right ‘amount’ of evidence and information
    relevance: answering questions of our partners, bringing together stakeholders in a structured process of deliberation
    partnership with those whom research was to influence: water supply/san company, people’s committee
    strengths: engagement, debunked some myths about costs and gave more analytical basis for decisions, forced govt silos to takl
    weaknesses: politics likely to reign, process wasn’t replicable by others- and these decisions need to be made all the time
  • Social work, organisational management, positive psychology --- strengths-based approaches
  • different knowledges,
    ethics, rigour and relevance, partnership with those whom research was to influence
  • Juliet Willetts - Research paradigms for poverty alleviation

    1. 1. Research paradigms for poverty alleviation and sustainable development: a balancing act of different knowledges, ethics, rigour and relevance A Prof Juliet Willetts, Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS Sydney 21-22 November 2013
    2. 2. My main point – to ask ourselves… What kind of research do we need to create change?
    3. 3. The balancing act ethics different knowledges, ways of knowing rigour relevance
    4. 4. Ways of knowing What should we do? What are we capable of doing? What is it we want to do? What exists? M A Max Neef (2005) Foundations of Transdisciplinarity. Ecological Economics 53: 5-16
    5. 5. Characteristics of transdisciplinary research
    6. 6. 1. Civil society, business and government roles in water and sanitation services Technical ‘fix’ Social ‘fix’
    7. 7. 1. Civil society, business and government roles in water and sanitation services government community business
    8. 8. 2. Climate change, disasters and health
    9. 9. er ness of pow Aware ow ures and h struct ed ledge is us know No rules le Responsib just for new knowledge Clear rules and standards n em dimensio Single probl Lots o disci f pl i n One disci pl Few s ta kehold e ine rs Lots o f st es terlinked issu Complex in es akeho lders
    10. 10. Looking to the future, what kind of research do we need to create change? Humility as researchers Respect for different types of knowledge and disciplines Courage to dare to think differently and make new suggestions Integrity and ethics Flexibility to adapt approach
    11. 11. Thankyou juliet.willetts@uts.edu.au
    12. 12. Sanitation services that meet economic, environmental, institutional and social aims
    13. 13. Strengths-based approaches to community development
    14. 14. Gender equality in water and sanitation
    15. 15. Governance and service delivery for the poor