Social Justice, Feminism and Well-Being

Article 1 – the author is Caitlin Cahill, it is titled “The Personal is Political: Developing New Subjectivities through Participatory Action Research. Gender, Place & Culture”. The article is mainly concerned with the participatory action research (PAR) in the sphere of social justice and its post-structuralism consideration in the feminism context. The author speculates over the change in politics with the emergency of feminism and restructuring of social, political and simply individual attitudes, discussing the interrelations of PAR and the personal change (Cahill 268-270).

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The target group of the author for her analysis is the segment of society represented by the young women of color – she describes the project she personally initiated to research the PAR process and the way young women would get involved in it. it was titled “Makes Me Mad” – young women who were chosen for the project named themselves “Fed Up Honeys” and took part in the four-week experiment that aimed at identifying their social concerns and included varied study of the surroundings they were residing in. Thus, the experiment was aimed at teaching women of color identify themselves and find their way in the contemporary social space:

Similar to the feminist practice of ‘consciousness raising’ through this process, political understandings are developed through an analysis of personal experiences (Cahill 273).

The authors also discuss the issue of ‘conscientizacao’ invented by Freire as a complex phenomenon of self-identification, relating oneself to certain social contexts (Cahill 275). Among other issues discussed one should remember the discussion of the project framework, its subjectivity and the development of new subject positions it brought about:

Questions: 1. What main questions does the author raise and how do they fit the general framework of PAR? 2. What did the project bring to the researchers from the point of view of social analysis? 3. By which signs can you define the “Makes Me Mad” project as successful in reaching its initial goals?

The second article to be considered is the one by Totikidis and Prilleltensky titled “Engaging Community in a Cycle of Praxis: Multicultural Perspectives on Personal, Relational and Collective Wellness. Community, Work and Family”. This article is also devoted to the topic of social activity on different levels in multicultural contexts. The main two concepts the authors deal with in their study are praxis and well-being. The first one is the tool for defining, developing and implementing the second one.

The initial aim of the study was to define the focus group in St. Albans and to question them on the subject of their assessment of well-being, the correspondence of the existing situation with their ideas about it and the projected potential to improve the situation practically, not only theoretically.

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This study gave much interesting information for consideration of researchers whose main aim is the implementation of the concept of praxis as the way to connect theory and action in the minds and lives of people. One more distinguishing peculiarity of the task was to have a look at the implementation of praxis from a multicultural point of view.

For this reason the target group of 29 people was chosen from people representing different national backgrounds and ethnical minorities. Findings showed much difference in the perception of well-being by different nationalities as well as taken approaches to improvement. They provide deeper understanding of cultural diversity and enhance multicultural understanding of the discussed research subject.

Questions: 1. What is your personal perception of well-being using the framework of Totikidis and Prilleltensky? 2. How else can the multicultural studies’ findings received in the course of the experiment be implemented in the multicultural studies? 3. If the nationalities were not marked, would you be able to identify them on the basis of their answers on the subject of welfare?

Bibliography

Cahill, Caitlin. “The Personal is Political: Developing New Subjectivities through Participatory Action Research”. Gender, Place & Culture, 2007, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 267–292.

Totikidis, Vicky & Isaac Prilleltensky. “Engaging Community in a Cycle of Praxis: Multicultural Perspectives on Personal, Relational and Collective Wellness”. Community, Work and Family. Vol. 9, No. 1, 2006, pp. 47-67.

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