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Puppeteering as a metaphor for unpacking power in participatory action research on climate change and health

Merilainen, E; Kelman, I; Peters, LER; Shannon, G; (2021) Puppeteering as a metaphor for unpacking power in participatory action research on climate change and health. Climate and Development 10.1080/17565529.2021.1930509. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The health impacts of climate change are distributed inequitably, with marginalized communities typically facing the direst consequences. However, the concerns of the marginalized remain comparatively invisible in research, policy and practice. Participatory action research (PAR) has the potential to centre these concerns, but due to unequal power relations among research participants, the approaches often fall short of their emancipatory ideals. To unpack how power influences the dynamics of representation in PAR, this paper presents an analytical framework using the metaphor of ‘puppeteering’. Puppeteering is a metaphor for how a researcher-activist resonates and catalyses both the voices (ventriloquism) and actions (marionetting) of a marginalized community. Two questions and continuums are central to the framework. First, who and where the puppeteer is (insider and outsider agents). Second, what puppeteering is (action and research; radical and managerial). Examples from climate change and health research provide illustrations and contextualizations throughout. A key complication for applying PAR to address the health impacts of climate change is that for marginalized communities, climate change typically remains a few layers removed from the determinants of health. The community’s priorities may be at odds with a research and action agenda framed in terms of climate change and health.

Type: Article
Title: Puppeteering as a metaphor for unpacking power in participatory action research on climate change and health
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2021.1930509
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2021.1930509
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Climate change, health, participatory action research, puppeteering, marginalized
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128581
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