The third edition of the SAGE Handbook of Action Research presents a fully updated version of the bestselling text, including new chapters written by key figures in the field covering emerging areas in healthcare, social work, education and international development, as well as an expanded ‘skills’ section which includes new consultant-relevant materials. Building on the strength of the previous editions, editor Hilary Bradbury has carefully developed the third edition to take a strong international approach to the topic of action research and thus expanding the already-impressive scale and scope of the work. In essence, the third edition follows in the footsteps of the landmark previous editions by mapping the current state of the discipline, as well as looking to the future of the field and exploring the issues at the cutting edge of the action research paradigm today. This volume is an essential resource for scholars and professionals engaged in social and political inquiry, organizational research and education.
Chapter 44: Critical Theory and Critical Participatory Action Research
Max Horkheimer (1972), one of the founders of the Frankfurt School of critical theory (Jay, 1973; Wiggershaus, 1994), described critical theory as a form of theorizing motivated by a deep concern to overcome social injustice and to establish more just social conditions for all people. He contrasted critical theory with ‘traditional theory', by which he meant positivistic science, what in this volume is referred to as conventional science, which aims to build scientific knowledge progressively by accumulating empirical knowledge of the world, assuming a distinction between facts and values. Critical theory, Horkheimer said,
has no specific influence on its side, except concern for the abolition of social injustice. … ...