Sustainability and Social Justice

Document Type



Collaboratively engaged research is shaped by dynamic power relationships among individuals, institutions and communities. Where some disciplines have explored the theoretical and methodological implications of power relations, the engagement movement writ large has suffered from a lack of explicit conceptual models and in-depth analyses of the role of power in the process of knowledge co-creation. Over the last 30 years, considerable attention has been paid to how resources and expertise within academic institutions can be brought to bear on the intractable social and economic problems of local communities. A necessary, yet under-theorised aspect of these dynamics is the extent to which the positionality and interpersonal relationships between actors impact the outcomes and durability of these processes. In this introductory article, we describe our effort to cultivate a conversation about power in engaged research. We organized an Author Collective for scholars and practitioners with a wide range of perspectives to expand our theoretical understanding of power’s role in university- community engagement. By reflecting on identities, approaches and experiences, the authors in this issue explore power as a vehicle for understanding the impact of positionality and interpersonal relationships on the process and outcomes of collaborative research.

Publication Title

Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement

Publication Date











engaged scholarship, power, collaborative research, knowledge co-creation



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Sociology Commons



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