Participation as Entangled Self Assertion

Meagan Call-Cummings, Barbara Dennis


In this article, we explore the concept of participation, tracing the history of how participation has been understood and used in ethnographic and critical participatory action research methodological traditions. Within this exploration we push on the limits and boundaries of our ordinary conceptions of "participation," presenting and working through scenarios from our fieldwork in which we took for granted an ordinary concept of participation. As we work through these scenarios we encounter participation first as rebellion, then as resistance, and finally as entangled self-assertion, as opportunities for establishing one's dignity and worthwhileness in an institutional context that diminishes or denies recognition of one's dignity and worthwhileness. This notion of participation as a mode of self-dignity speaks back to the way in which knowledge is not neutral for self and is not separate of self.


knowledge production; participation; ethnography; critical participatory action research; entanglement; agency

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Copyright (c) 2019 Meagan Call-Cummings, Barbara Dennis

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