Session: Building Anti-Racist Scholarship through Community-Engaged Research (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

174 Building Anti-Racist Scholarship through Community-Engaged Research

Friday, January 14, 2022: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Marquis BR Salon 10, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods
Kirk Foster, PhD, University of South Carolina, Daniel Brisson, PhD, University of Denver and Mary Ohmer, PhD, MSW, MPIA, University of Pittsburgh
Social work has always sought to address racial injustices through engaging community members in problem-solving and capacity-building. Social work research extends this practice through the science of community-engaged research which centers community members in the research and knowledge building processes. Yet institutions and the very research process itself are fraught with racial discrimination. From viewing communities as objects of research to monetizing community issues for professional gain, institutions explicitly and implicitly perpetuate the very institutionalized racism and social injustices we seek to dismantle.

Community-engaged research has the potential to promote and build anti-racist scholarship. The method's core principles of shared knowledge production and co-ownership of the research process move science away from pathologizing people to changing the racist systems that perpetuate the problems on which social work researchers focus. Centering the community's voice locates the roots of the problems in power and policy. Anti-racist community engaged research ultimately focuses on changing organizations, systems, and structures rather than fixing individuals, which too many researchers focus on.

Considering these points, presenters at this roundtable will facilitate a discussion that addresses the following questions: To achieve the goal of anti-racist scholarship, does social work science need to center community engaged research as the primary method of inquiry? What tenets of community engaged research are essential to build anti-racist scholarship and what tenets perpetuate institutionalized racism? How does social work science position itself considering the broader sociopolitical understanding of knowledge building?

This roundtable session will advance a dialogue on the role of social work science in building anti-racist scholarship through community-engaged research. One presenter will discuss the tenets of anti-racist scholarship and how orthodox research epistemology perpetuates racialized understandings of social issues. We will highlight the role of research institutions in building a knowledge base that implicates people over systems and policies, and provide strategies to develop an anti-racist scholarly agenda.

Another presenter will interrogate how the tenets of community engaged research support an anti-racist scholarship agenda and how they perpetuate systems of racism. Tenets include: 1) building trusting relationships; 2) including community partners at every step of the research process; 3) centering the voices of people experiencing the issue under inquiry; and 4) dissemination of findings. This presentation will bring to the surface the complexity and tensions of pragmatic knowledge building within a system built and sustained on institutionalized racism.

The final presenter will discuss how community based participatory research can further anti-racist scholarship, and barriers to conducting CBPR within academic institutions that do not value this type of research as highly as other forms of research that generate more research funding and publications. Key principles of CBPR will be discussed, including conducting research "with" vs. "on" or "in" a community, developing equitable research partnerships with communities that share power and resources, and focusing on knowledge generation for anti-racist community action. Challenges within the academy will be discussed as well as the role of social work researchers in advocating for policy changes that honor, value, and reward anti-racist CBPR. anti-racist CBPR.

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