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Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach

Wed, May 15, 2013

Date: May 15-17, 2013
Location: Culemborg, The Netherlands
(just a short train ride from Utrecht)

Presenters: Dian Marie Hosking and Sheila McNamee


This workshop will focus on modes of inquiry that blur the traditional distinction between research and social change (e.g., consultation, program development, etc.). We will explore what research from a constructionist orientation looks like, how is it different and similar to traditional, empirical modes of inquiry, and how research informs the everyday practices of all participants. Emphasis will be given to the transformative potential of inquiry. In particular, participatory research, appreciative inquiry, action research, and auto-ethnography will be used to make the case for widening participation and involvement in research in order to maximize the relevance and accessibility of studies. This theme resonates with the constructionist call to recognize the ways in which all social action rests within a matrix of relationships with other actors.

During this workshop, time will be spent exploring participants’ own “contexts of inquiry” and designing relational forms of practice that both serve the members of those contexts while contributing to our general understanding of a wide range of social practices. In other words, we will consider workshop participants’ research topics and design methods for generating research results as importantly contributing to the process of local change and development. To that end, this workshop will redefine research as an everyday practice with relevance beyond professional, scientific communities. This workshop is a valuable opportunity for students and practitioners engaged in research to join in conversation about alternative modes of inquiry and what the process of inquiry, overall, can contribute to our daily lives.

We will focus on relational constructionist premises and explores these in terms of their generative possibilities both for inquiry and social change work.

The workshop will be useful for students and practitioners engaged in professional development, with particular use for those scholar-practitioners who want to reflect on and learn from their practice and who want to produce practical results with and for those with whom they are working. It is also aimed at those scholar-practitioners who want to contribute to a wider understanding of how social relations (groups, organizations, communities, etc.) can work effectively.

We encourage participants to read: Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach, McNamee and Hosking (2012) as a companion to the course. This book emerged from and contributed to earlier offerings of this workshop. We would be happy to order copies at our authors discount and have them ready for you when you arrive. Select this option when registering if you would like us to purchase a copy of the book for you at our authors’ discount.

Student Registration:* $480
*Full-time students enrolled in graduate program.
Taos/Tilburg Ph.D. student should indicate if this is one of the four workshops while in the program if you are eligible.
(Additional fee for the book is $100)

General Registration: $630

Book Purchase: $100 (recommended)

Registration covers materials, dinner reception on the opening evening, morning and afternoon coffee/tea breaks, and lunch (and book if that registration option is selected).

To Register



Opening Reception (dinner) and introductory session
18:00-21:00 Wednesday, 15 May
9:00-17:00 Thursday and Friday, 16-17 May
In Culemborg, The Netherlands (directions provided upon registration)


Culemborg is a very pretty stretch of Dutch polder - low lying land, lakes, rivers and dykes. There are several lovely options for accommodations - including old farm houses. Please consider the following:

Possible bed and breakfasts:

Lots4u is very close: http://www.lots4u.nl

It is also possible to stay in Utrecht and take the train to Culemborg (17 minutes). The workshop location is 25 minutes by bike from the Culemborg train station. Bikes for rent at the railway station in Culemborg:

Additional Information: Dian Marie Hosking - [email protected]