Developing ‘process pragmatism’ to underpin engaged research in human geography
Progress in Human Geography
(c) The Author(s) 2016. This is an open access article under the CC BY license(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
This paper explores the contribution that pragmatist philosophy can make to the way that we do research and teaching in human geography. It provides a historical overview of the key ideas in the tradition, their influence on the Chicago School of Sociology and community organizing, and the implications of this work for epistemological practice. The paper then looks at the variety of ways in which human geographers are using research as a means to engage in the world today, focusing in particular on the contributions of participatory action research (PAR), before making the case for ‘process pragmatism’ as a framework for doing this kind of research. To illustrate the potential of this approach, the paper outlines current research, teaching and organizing activity being undertaken by geographers at Queen Mary University of London. The paper suggests that pragmatism provides a theoretical and methodological foundation for research and teaching which can facilitate the creation of new publics, and can help to build power and democratic capacity with the aim of remaking the world.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Liam Harney would like to acknowledge the support of Queen Mary University Centre for Public Engagement for funding a publication on the housing crisis in Tower Hamlets, the Antipode Foundation for awarding a Scholar-Activist award for a research project on pragmatism, and the ESRC for a 1+3 PhD studentship. Jenny McCurry and James Scott would both like to acknowledge the support of the ESRC for +3 PhD studentships. Jane Wills would like to acknowledge the support of the Leverhulme Trust for funding a research project on localism in the UK that includes the work of Citizens UK.
This is the final version of the article. Available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 40 (3), pp. 316 - 333