Keynote Speaker: Lonnie Rowell

Lonnie Rowell Professor (Ret.), University of San Diego, California, USA; Emeritus Co-Founder, Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) 

Knowledge Democracy and Educational Action Research: Beliefs, Science, Politics and Resistance in Knowledge Production 

This lecture will address critical issues in action research and participatory action research as they are taking shape within the current crisis of neo-liberalism and the growing authoritarian challenges of Trumpism (and other global authoritarian figures) to democratic society.

Professor Rowell will discuss the state of the global educational action research community in the context of a stacked-deck system of official educational research that has gone all in on an orientation towards knowledge production which contributes to undermining both the professional judgment of educators and the necessary frames of reference for understanding education in a democratic society. He will describe the necessity of the educational action research community serving as a force of opposition to this orientation, with particular emphasis on the importance of building knowledge democracies as a strategic initiative for alternative knowledge mobilization.

Knowledge democracy is a concept that has grown out of transformations in the politics of knowledge production. The concept is rooted in resistance to the monopolization of expert knowledge producers in relation to global north-south splits in the politics of development from the mid-20th century up to our time. The democratization of knowledge production and the expansion of challenges to all forms of elitist domination have been joined at the hip for at least the last 50 years, fueled by a recognition of the transformative power of knowledge democratization. Professor Rowell’s recent work has explored public education and educational research in the U.S. in relation to knowledge monopoly as well as the prospects of knowledge democracy as a pathway towards breaking through the barriers imposed by this monopoly.

Professor Lonnie Rowell is a scholar-activist, counselor educator, and international authority on practitioner-research and community-based action research. He recently retired from his position as associate professor of counseling at the University of San Diego (USD). For the past 20 years he has been developing action research models and networks in the U.S. and around the world. He was a cofounder and lead organizer in establishing the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) and served as ARNA’s founding Chair (2013-2015). In 2017, with colleagues around the world, he designed and convened the 1st Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy in Cartagena, Colombia. He is the lead editor of the Palgrave International Handbook of Action Research, President of Social Publishers Foundation, a web-based platform for disseminating practitioner-research in education and other domains of professional practice, and an editor of Educational Action Research (EAR).