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Devadasis Organizing for Social Change: Discourses of Power and Resistance
Unformatted Document Text:  Devadasis Organizing -- 14 Methods This study used ethnographic methods involving participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. 16 I spent three months, involved in fieldwork for as many as 60 hours each week. I was introduced to this intervention program by the non-profit organization, MYRADA, with whom I had previous contact. The principal approach to data collection I adopted was participatory inquiry (Reason, 1988; 1994a; 1994b), both a theoretical and methodological intervention in order to transform the research enterprise, in this case ethnography, into a co- performance (Conquergood, 1991). Freire (1982) has articulated the ontological position for a participatory approach to inquiry that starkly contrasts Bourdieu’s position: The concrete reality for many social scientists is a list of particular facts that they would like to capture; for example, the presence or absence of water, problems concerning erosion in the area. For me, the concrete reality is something more than isolated facts. In my view, thinking dialectically, the concrete reality consists not only of concrete facts and (physical) things, but also includes the ways in which the people involved with these facts perceive them. Thus in the last analysis, for me, the concrete reality is the connection between subjectivity and objectivity, never objectivity isolated from subjectivity. (p. 30) The notion of collaborative experiential inquiry is practiced and exemplified in three approaches: cooperative inquiry, participatory action research, and action inquiry (Reason, 1994a, 1994b). Co-operative inquiry is based on two assumptions. First, individuals are self-determining. So researchers can only properly study people when they are in active relationship with each other, where the behavior being researched is self-generated by the researchers in a context of cooperation. Second, cooperative inquiry is comprised of an extended epistemology including four kinds of knowledge: experiential knowledge, practical knowledge, propositional knowledge, and presentational knowledge (Reason, 1994a). Participatory action research (PAR) emphasizes the political aspects of knowledge production and is firmly rooted within the tradition of liberationist movements. PAR draws strongly on Freire’s (1970) ethos of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. PAR has a double objective: (a) to produce knowledge and action directly useful to a community— through research, through adult education, and through sociopolitical action; (b) consciousness raising—to empower people through the process of constructing and using their own knowledge so that they learn to ‘see through’ the ways in which the established interests monopolize the production and use of knowledge for their own benefit. 16 Before venturing out on the field, I obtained IRB approval. I asked all research participants for their permission to be included in my study and in exchange they were guaranteed confidentiality. In most instances, I identify participants using pseudonyms. In rare instances, when participants themselves, such as KSWDC-MYRADA personnel, on their own submission, did not expect confidentiality, I use their real names.

Authors: Kandath, Krishna.
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Devadasis Organizing -- 14
Methods
This study used ethnographic methods involving participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus
groups.
16
I spent three months, involved in fieldwork for as many as 60 hours each week. I was introduced to this
intervention program by the non-profit organization, MYRADA, with whom I had previous contact. The principal
approach to data collection I adopted was participatory inquiry (Reason, 1988; 1994a; 1994b), both a theoretical and
methodological intervention in order to transform the research enterprise, in this case ethnography, into a co-
performance (Conquergood, 1991). Freire (1982) has articulated the ontological position for a participatory
approach to inquiry that starkly contrasts Bourdieu’s position:
The concrete reality for many social scientists is a list of particular facts that they would like to capture; for
example, the presence or absence of water, problems concerning erosion in the area. For me, the concrete
reality is something more than isolated facts. In my view, thinking dialectically, the concrete reality consists
not only of concrete facts and (physical) things, but also includes the ways in which the people involved with
these facts perceive them. Thus in the last analysis, for me, the concrete reality is the connection between
subjectivity and objectivity, never objectivity isolated from subjectivity. (p. 30)
The notion of collaborative experiential inquiry is practiced and exemplified in three approaches: cooperative
inquiry, participatory action research, and action inquiry (Reason, 1994a, 1994b).
Co-operative inquiry is based on two assumptions. First, individuals are self-determining. So researchers can
only properly study people when they are in active relationship with each other, where the behavior being
researched is self-generated by the researchers in a context of cooperation. Second, cooperative inquiry is
comprised of an extended epistemology including four kinds of knowledge: experiential knowledge, practical
knowledge, propositional knowledge, and presentational knowledge (Reason, 1994a).
Participatory action research (PAR) emphasizes the political aspects of knowledge production and is firmly
rooted within the tradition of liberationist movements. PAR draws strongly on Freire’s (1970) ethos of Pedagogy of
the Oppressed. PAR has a double objective: (a) to produce knowledge and action directly useful to a community—
through research, through adult education, and through sociopolitical action; (b) consciousness raising—to empower
people through the process of constructing and using their own knowledge so that they learn to ‘see through’ the
ways in which the established interests monopolize the production and use of knowledge for their own benefit.
16
Before venturing out on the field, I obtained IRB approval. I asked all research participants for their permission to
be included in my study and in exchange they were guaranteed confidentiality. In most instances, I identify
participants using pseudonyms. In rare instances, when participants themselves, such as KSWDC-MYRADA
personnel, on their own submission, did not expect confidentiality, I use their real names.


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