Relational Research as Shared Inquiry

Duane Bidwell, PhD, teaches spiritual care and counseling at Claremont School of Theology. He supervises students using relational research to address topics that range from political violence in Zimbabwe, Mexican Mayan women’s resistance to neoliberal corporations, and mass shootings in the United States to Buddhist models of chaplaincy and trauma. In this video, talking with Canadian psychotherapist Tahereh Barati, PhD, Duane names identity, agency, and possibility as touchstones for his approach to relational research that guide the questions researchers ask and the ways in which they embody relationships that are attentive to differences of power. Researchers should work constantly to decolonialize and decolonize themselves to avoid replicating harmful patterns during the research process. Because research is value-laden, Duane says, the questions we ask, and the ways we ask them, create or block possible futures. Research shapes what the world becomes. To that end, Duane invites researchers to embody an “ethic of care” that can influence larger community structures and systems. Adopting the stance of “curious visitor” allows relational researchers to engage people in a joint examination of experience to generate. When we advocate for local knowledges, he says, we promote the flourishing of people and creation.

Duane Bidwell, Ph.D.

Duane is Professor of Practical Theology, Spiritual Care, and Counseling at Claremont School of Theology, Willamette University, Canada. Duane is also a Taos Institute Board Member. For more information, visit Duane’s Profile page.

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