Wednesday, August 9, 2017

CfPs: ARJ Special issue on "Climate Change and Action Research: Creating Transformative Knowledge With Stakeholders"

Call for Papers: 
Action Research Journal (ARJ)'s Special issue on "Climate Change and Action Research: Creating Transformative Knowledge With Stakeholders"

Special Issue Senior Editor: Hilary Bradbury, Ph.D. Editor in Chief.

Special Issue Editor Team: Steve Waddell; Marina Apgar; Tom Wakeford; Karen O' Brien, Ioan Fazey, Rik Peters, Benito Teehankee.

Papers due to ARJ January 30, 2018

The science of climate change tells us that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is disrupting climate patterns (IPCC, 2014). It is clear that we must halt catastrophic climate change and at the same time adapt to its near-term impacts. However, mobilizing social changes at the rate, scale, magnitude and depth that is called for has mostly confounded us. New understandings of the relationship between knowledge and action are called for, as well as a new approach to research (Future Earth 2013). The aim of this special issue is to highlight what Action Researchers can offer to meet this transdisciplinary, integrative challenge. We frame action research as broadly as possible to include scholarship-practice with a change agenda that encourages appropriate stakeholder engagement throughout, (Bradbury, 2015). Additionally, we encourage diversity of expression, from interweaving multiple epistemological voices to the arts – and more - because we understand that the conventional practices of knowledge creation (which separates production from application, scholars from stakeholders) is itself part of the problem that must be addressed. Questions that animate our interest include:
  • How do action researchers generate transformative knowledge creation within a domain that has been largely dominated by conventional natural sciences and economics? How can action researchers and conventional scientists work better together to navigate the power and politics of scholarship to realize epistemological complementarities required for meaningful outcomes? 
  • How can conventional science's research designs be re-designed/complemented/influenced by Action Research design?
  • How do subjective & intersubjective knowledge claims interweave with objective knowledge claims in a way that furthers a transformative change agenda in response to climate change? 
  • How are the material differences of specific spaces and places to be accounted for in what needs to be a global transformation? 
  • What are relevant examples and exemplars of transformative knowledge from which we can learn?
  • How is indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge, knowledge democracy, and other excluded epistemologies to be included?
  • What is required for good exemplars of action research that link across scale (e.g., between a community base and institutionalizing powers)?
  • How do we develop truly integrated efforts that are actionable - combining the exteriorizing focus of systems thinking with the interiorizing focus on relationships, gender and racial power dynamics (etc) that can allow for authentic transformation to happen?
  • What happens when more attention is given to convening convivial and purpose-driven relational spaces as a prelude to transforming behavior, i.e., spaces that balance between agency and community to avoid the dulling of the radical spirit of transformation that many change agents carry?
  • What does planning look like in transformational efforts? How different is it from conventional ideas of planning in related spaces (such as international development)? Many action researchers assume planning needs to be more emergent and generative, but what does that really mean in practice?
We view this special issue on climate change and Action Research as a timely update to a theme that has been at the heart of Action Research since our inception as a journal. Indeed, the first special issue of the journal (in 2005) was on sustainability. As current ARJ editor-in-chief Hilary Bradbury explained in her editorial back then:
"In calling for articles to this special issue we wanted to draw attention to human dimensions of sustainability and social change. We believe that for too long the field of sustainability has operated with a technical-rational logic that leaves little room to attend to the more complicated behavioral and cultural aspects of creating a sustainable society. Some of humanity's most key tasks concern our capacity for better collaboration and learning. As a consequence of the lack of consideration these complex human issues have received in the field of sustainability, we see little uptake of great technical insights. Current patterns of behavior among individuals and within institutions and organizations have proven durable and quite difficult to change." (Bradbury and Waage, 2005). 
Over a decade later, these concerns are more urgent now. A call for more attention to human dimensions of sustainability and social transformation are precisely what motivate this call for papers on climate change.
ARJ makes every effort to be as inclusive of diversity as possible. Full drafts of papers should be submitted through on our online submission process (go to for details) no later than 31 January 2018. Please note: all papers should follow regular ARJ submission recommendations, which length of 5000–7000 words inclusive, using APA style. 

Note: We do our best to host translations of the accepted English manuscript on our companion website. Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and French are of special interest. 

Note to authors:
  • Read our Author Resources and more which describe - in a way considered more transparent than most - what we look for from authors:
  • Pay close attention to the Choice-points for quality. Be aware that ARJ, as a rule, is not inclined to accept contributions that remain ungrounded in practice with stakeholders. Be sure to read previous issues so you have a better sense. 
  • Direct brief, preliminary questions to editor in chief, Hilary Bradbury,
  • All detailed inquiries - including request to review drafts, are welcome but must use the peer review system when seeking any feedback. This ensures that nothing gets lost.
  • Include the words Climate Change Special Issue as a subtitle for your paper upon submission.
  • Our companion AR+ website,, enables the publication of material in multimedia format, including video; we welcome submissions that take creative advantage of this opportunity.

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