The purpose of this paper is to discuss the contribution of community-based research to the self-organisation of Civil Society and in particular to community engagement, policy processes and social change.
Starting from communities own issues and organisational structures, this paper presents a methodology to create spaces for social transformation. Its approach was designing engagement programmes of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with communities’ partnerships, supported by constructed conversations, workshops and fieldwork, coproducing knowledge within community structures.
The research offers evidence that supporting community empowerment and engagement with community-based research needs a deep understanding of participatory social processes. It makes visible that researchers should have more opportunities to focus their research on communities rather than on collecting data to respond to funders.
Though community self-organisation happens one way or the other effective self-organisation processes cannot be taken for granted and need further studies and elaboration. Despite current efforts it requires more studies to understand social systems and develop stronger links to active citizenship policies.
This research contributes to communities’ engagement in policy processes and highlights the enabling role of HEIs.
It rearticulates participatory approaches to active citizenship and learning in communities.
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