Planning Research 'with' Minorities in Palermo: Negotiating Ethics and Commitments in a Participatory Process

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Abstract

The paper will explore some ethical issues which arise when undertaking research with minorities (ethnic groups, children, poor people) in the context of an uncollaborative planning process, like the Palermo Local Agenda 21. There are important ethical issues that have to be carefully considered when undertaking research with people, particularly when these people are marginalised or excluded by wider society. Here, issues of powerlessness and vulnerability abound. If this is accepted, some questions arise. How are we supposed to consider planning researchers – understood as immersed in the policy process – as moral/political agents, given their political commitments? Here there are both general ethical issues and specifically research ethical issues: the article will stress the perspective of the researcher, although a strict and rigid distinction does not entirely apply to the case, given the context which will be described. These include: What is a ‘‘significant’’ knowledge? Which sort of knowledge is not ‘‘recognised’’ and consequently excluded by institutions? What obligations does a researcher have in relation to the power relations assumed and supported by answers to these questions?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-209
Number of pages23
JournalPLANNING PRACTICE + RESEARCH
Volume23 n. 2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development

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