Postmaterial Participatory Research: Exploring the nature of self with children

Thomas, Donna orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8232-5778 (2023) Postmaterial Participatory Research: Exploring the nature of self with children. International Journal of Transformative Research, 9 (1). pp. 6-17.

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In this article, I argue for the value of participatory methodologies, in research with children, which aims to privilege their epistemologies and living experiences in relation to the nature of self. Researching self with children raises questions about the mainstream materialist paradigm which holds hegemony over most academic disciplines – and, importantly, over the life worlds of everyday people. Children’s experiences of self, others and the world challenge the dominant materialist paradigm, requiring investigation into other metaphysical models of reality, that may have more explanatory power than materialism. I address this by appealing to a body of scholarship referred to as ‘postmaterialist’. Reauthoring our nature as human beings carries an increasing importance and urgency in the face of current ecological, economical and health crises. I argue that any research, which seeks to facilitate social transformation through everyday people, needs to begin by asking ontological questions about the nature of the self - the subject of experience who holds and reports epistemological authority
over their subjective experiences.

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