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Creating spaces of dialogical action towards epistemic justice in higher education

Meredith, Margaret (2020) Creating spaces of dialogical action towards epistemic justice in higher education. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

Universities tend to take an exclusive view of knowledge and who can generate such knowledge. This knowledge tends to be based upon concepts within Western frameworks which assume the desirability of objectivity between the individual knower and what is known, the fragmentation of knowledge into disciplines and a marked distinction between theory and practice. As such, legitimate knowledge creation is seen to be the prerogative of academics based in Western contexts. Other forms of knowledge and other knowers are viewed as less legitimate. I challenge this view in practical and theoretical ways, arguing that it is exclusional, unjust and counterproductive. The practices described in the thesis are premised on the belief that all people should be seen as having knowledge creating capacity and the ability to use such capacity. It explores how relational, participative practices of knowledge creation between people of difference were enacted.

Using a self-study action research approach, I investigate my practices as an academic in co-ordinating an international collaborative project between those inside and outside of academia in global North and South. I describe and theorise how participative, relational and dialogic spaces were created for knowledge creation. The thesis explores how all participants were recognised as having a unique role which contributed to addressing a common concern, how such a role may be developed in collaboration with others and how this inclusive approach can motivate participation. I explain how such practices can embody epistemic justice.

I draw conclusions which contribute to a conceptualisation of the role and responsibility of the academic towards creating spaces for participation in collaborative and dialogical political action. I also draw out the practices embedded within my research and view them as a microcosm of what universities could be: spaces of participation in dialogical learning and in political action, towards social hope.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4622

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