Watson, M. (2022). How to go on? An ethnographic return to the ‘rough ground’ in PAR. International Journal of Action Research, 18(2), 56-70.
Inspired by philosophical concerns with ordinary language, I write as a practitioner (and ethnographer) frustrated by how pictures of research that reduce action to quests for rational consensus seemingly blind people to the spontaneous and realistic pull that PAR exerts on participants to return to the “rough ground” of everyday life. Drawing on the case study of an Indigenous radio show in Montreal, I look ethnographically at the transformative qualities of Action (Research) as woven into participants’ response to the more ordinary and immediate question: how to go on? I suggest that what matters in participatory-action is not so much knowing or the failure to know than acknowledging and accepting (or accommodating or refusing) others’ positions and commitments.