Activist Research Practice: Exploring Research and Knowledge Production for Social Action


  • Aziz Choudry



Activist research, social movements, methodology, activism, global justice movement, knowledge production


Research is a major aspect and fundamental component of many social struggles and movements for change. Understanding social movement networks as significant sites of knowledge production, this article situates and discusses processes and practice of activist research produced outside of academia in these milieus in the broader context of the ‘knowledge-practice’ of social movements. In dialogue with scholarly literature on activist research, it draws from the author’s work as an activist researcher, and a current study of small activist research non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with examples from movement research on transnational corporate power and resistance to capitalist globalization.. It explicates research processes arising from, and embedded in, relationships and dialogue with other activists and organizations that develop through collaboration in formal and informal networks; it contends that building relationships is central to effective activist research practice. In addition to examining how activist researchers practice, understand and validate their research, this paper also shows how this knowledge is constructed, disseminated and mobilized as a tool for effective social action/organizing.