Participatory Action Research

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This may be my final retrospective of Full Life Farm for 2014, but life and adventures, the academic and homesteading ones, will continue as I work towards an MSc in social psychology, a PhD in community psychology, and the co-creation of an intentional community eco-village while I also learn of life and the uses of herbal medicine. Hopefully, you have read my other experiences in previous entries so this won’t be a difficult to follow. Rather, this will be a reflection of what I have experienced and learned from the end of April to the end of September.

I explored the possibility of an internship over nine months ago when I when I began research and visited Paul, Terra, and Zinnia at the farm in December. The day we met to interview each other, Zinnia was barely four months old, tiny, and bundled up warmly from the cold. It’s now over a month after her first birthday, and she’s walking, laughing, talking, and energizing everyone she encounters. I am eager to visit all of them soon to update them on my adventures and hear them tell their tales.

After nine months of living less than a mile from Full Life and assisting where I was needed, everything became a routine of one sort or another. Paul always generously asked me where I would like to work and assist to occasionally break that routine, but the routines became such a joyous routines in the end. Yes, I am romanticizing but not by much. My destiny is my own collective farming spacer with others. Ultimately, there is much on a farm that generally remains the same, as you read in previous entries, but there was always something to learn, even if it was a tiny but important detail. Full Life was, and is, a wonderful place to learn while communing with nature and warm, intelligent human beings that care about the future of sustainability. I do miss the farm.

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Abstract

While propaganda in the form of unintentional influence and the language of sexism has been independently researched, a review of literature reveals no such studies that link these two topics.   In this paper, I link these two subjects to study the hypothesis that the language of sexism, embedded within media, unintentionally influences individuals and small groups.  Through participatory action research methodology, participants will take part in a series of focus groups analyzing sexist language within media contexts. Findings will indicate how media sexism influences individuals and small groups, what that influence means to the health of their local community, and what action should be taken to alleviate negative consequences.

 

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On Sunday, I baked the bread ground from the wheat berries from the previous week, described in the last post.  While I am a perfectionist (regarding taste and aesthetic and artistic appearance) with my bread experiments, everyone is always pleased with the results.  The recipe is basic and a modification of a standard Southern Italian Pugliese country peasant loaf.  The recipe that I use will undergo a slight modification so I will only post the recipe that I will use in the future rather than the one I used.  In fact, this will also end up as the modified Spelt recipe that I experimented with weeks ago and have experimented with for the last few years.

On Thursday, I created the build, the mixture of already growing rye sourdough starter and wheat flour.  I use sourdough starter rather than commercial yeast because it is more natural, healthier, ancient, and challenging.  For this recipe, I use a 20% mixture where 20% of the flour equals 100 grams and 20 % of the water is 60 grams.  This is for a total loaf size of 500 grams flour bread loaf. Two rough tablespoons of starter are enough and may be more than is needed but it is my standard and it works fine.  For reference, I use the metric system grams rather than the English pounds and ounces because the metric system is much easier to multiply and divide.  Additionally, weighing ingredients is much more accurate than the volume measurements of measuring cups.  So now you know.  It takes anywhere from 4-6 to 12 hours and sometimes more (depending upon altitude and weather) for the build to grow where it is ready to add to begin making dough and bread.

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Hacker and Roberts open with what for me is a very prescient idea, the idea of victim-blaming in an organization, and indeed in most Western modern societies, rather than looking for solutions and rising to challenges that can teach one to be stronger.  Their John Stewart Mill quote speaks to current events in government that always seem to be current no matter the year, the decade, or the century, “A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes–will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.”  What have we wrought when each of our mind-sets chain us to ideas of a past and a present that we cannot, nay refuse to (r)evolvolve from?  Mind sets are formulated from life experiences, yes, as Hacker and Roberts indicate, but those same life experiences can force an individual to realize that change is necessary when it prohibits growth.

Yes, some mind-sets cannot be changed because people refuse to change but others are ready to change, forcing it, fearing it but welcoming it, or seeking it. Transformational leadership can and will exploit people in within their evolutionary stage to benefit the organization and the individuals involved, understand where each individual is, and what is best for that individual. Hacker and Roberts indicate the above and four additional mind-sets that inhibit growth, individuals concerned with self-image, the self-absorbed, and the detached and emphasize what is needed to jump start each individual’s evolutionary growth.  The process reminds me of the positive affirmations that I do each morning before meditation to start my day.

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(This is it folks.  I may have found the research method of choice to write thesis and dissertation in social psychology and media studies respectively.  It’s Participatory Action Research.  Everyone teaches and everyone learns, including the study participants.  Stay tuned.)

 

Participatory action and the research that it entails give me hope for the future.  Seeing Pray the Devil Back to Hell was enough to remind me that it takes a group of people to create powerful change (political or otherwise), but it only takes one individual to initiate that change that creates a domino effect in others, whether that be intentional personal propaganda or unintentional propaganda, and while I have hope in the future of humanity, I believe that it will take a great deal for people in the United States to realize this simple fact.  There are many throughout the world that have already realized this.  The women of Liberia give me hope.

Johnson et al’ Naming our reality recalls the torture and murder of a young transgendered woman outside and a few feet away from an upper Manhattan police station that made the rounds of Facebook and Tumblr.  This article was written in 2007, and the murder occurred in 2013.  Activism has improved awareness of these issues, and affected populations have banded together to realize that they are stronger as collectives than as individuals and that everything is connected, “where life histories and social positions – including gender, race, sexuality, age and culture – are taken into account,” making participatory action research more powerful and effective by drawing upon liberation, black, and feminist psychologies. Still, there is much to be done when the so call safety officers of a city ignore the safety of a person whom they do not consider as a human being.

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