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Friday, March 18 • 3:40pm - 5:05pm
FR3.40.05 Embedded [or In Bed With]? Navigating the Moral Hazards of Being an Activist Housing Researcher (ACTIVIST SCHOLARSHIP SESSION)

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As low-income housing around the world is being transformed, researchers have worked to document and challenge housing policies and practices. Often hired by public agencies, such as housing authorities, researchers become embedded in complex relationships and multiple obligations. This gets tricky...Who is the beneficiary of our research? Can our research make a difference in the lives of low-income people now and in the future? To whom do we feel most obligated in conducting this research? How do we interpret the “public good” in this work? In short, how do we navigate the moral hazards of activist research? This colloquy will examine the ethical dimensions of doing activist research on low-income housing and with the people who live in it, along with the always challenging dynamics of the researcher-agency relationships. We will discuss the practical strategies that have been used to gain access to residents and administrators/stakeholders, and the challenge of “using” the data. Reflecting on our own experiences, we will compare, contrast and debate the use of the feminist “ethic of care” as a suitable framework for understanding the moral dimensions of this research. This framework will also be compared to Rawlsian “ethics of justice.” Gilligan describes the “ethics of care” as: …grounded in voice and relationships, in the importance of everyone having a voice, being listened to carefully (in their own right and on their own terms) and heard with respect. An ethics of care directs our attention to the need for responsiveness in relationships (paying attention, listening, responding) and to the costs of losing connection with oneself or with others. Its logic is inductive, contextual, psychological, rather than deductive or mathematical (http://ethicsofcare.org/care-ethicists/carol-gilligan/). How can this “ethic of care” inform our work and what does it offer that justice cannot? This exploration will raise methodological and moral questions that will benefit from discussion during (and we hope long after) this colloquy.

Speakers
avatar for Janet Smith, University of Illinois at Chicago

Janet Smith, University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois Chicago
avatar for Amy Khare

Amy Khare

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Amy Khare’s research seeks to shape solutions to persistent poverty and structural inequality, with a specific focus on affordable housing, community development, and market-driven policies. Her central line of inquiry examines how urban politics influences the privatization of... Read More →
LM

Lynne Manzo

University of Washington
SS

Susan Saegert

City University of New York

Moderators
avatar for Amy Khare

Amy Khare

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Amy Khare’s research seeks to shape solutions to persistent poverty and structural inequality, with a specific focus on affordable housing, community development, and market-driven policies. Her central line of inquiry examines how urban politics influences the privatization of... Read More →

Friday March 18, 2016 3:40pm - 5:05pm PDT
Indigo 204A