The goal of this paper is to examine the role of participatory action research (PAR) in improving relationships in “natural spaces of encounter” where members of conflicting groups meet and interact. It describes and analyzes a project, “the Academic Puzzle,” that fosters organization-wide change in relations between Jewish and Arab students at a College in Israel. The project consists of 16 programs, all initiatives by College faculty, administrators, or students. Many of these programs, though not all, use PAR methods such as cooperative inquiry, dialogue, action science, action evaluation, and photovoice. The paper focuses on four programs which were explicitly designed as PAR. Furthermore, it illustrates how the Puzzle project is guided by a “self-in-field” approach that helps link these individual initiatives into an “enclave” that offers an alternative to the dominant field in order to transform it.
Victor J. Friedman, Javier Simonovich, Nizar Bitar
International Review of Qualitative Research