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Metaphors that inspire 'researching with people': UK farming, countrysides and diverse stakeholder contexts

By David McClintock


An awareness of <i>metaphors</i> offers exciting possibilities for research. Metaphors can be seen as central to our understandings and as a way to be able to <i>appreciate</i> different understandings. In contexts characterised by many actors and different activities, such as in agriculture, metaphors provide a way of dealing with this diversity.\ud \ud Metaphors also enhance attempts to be self-reflective and responsible in research. Researching <i>with</i> people explicitly recognises the roles assumed by the researcher as well as co-researchers. Researching <i>with</i> people removes a divide between <i>doing</i> and <i>using</i> research, and focuses on how to create a space where different understandings can emerge. The context for this research is <i>how future counrrysides in the UK can come about</i>. Farming, environmental and social issues are all included in this context, although farming is taken as a base. The main 'co-researchers' were several farming families and members of The Farming and Wildlife Advisoy Group (WAG).\ud \ud In the thesis, a framework is developed for recognising, bringing forth and exploring metaphors. Ways of using metaphors explicitly in research are developed by considering how metaphors provide: a way to understand our understandings, as well as the way language is used; a way to reflect on, and structure research; a way to understand the research context and to appreciate a diversity of understandings; and a way to create space for understandings to emerge. An approach is proposed that can inform research in diverse stakeholder contexts, in a wide range of fields, based on an awareness of metaphor

Year: 1996
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Provided by: Open Research Online

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