There are two key ideas to explore in my resesarch. One is thinking about the question ‘what is prosperity’ from the perspective of discourse analysis and philosophy of language. Why is the concept of prosperity often difficult to define precisely, and yet important to talk about nevertheless? I explore this question through concepts in linguistics and semiotics such as ‘sense’ and ‘reference’, ‘extension’ and ‘intension’, and the relationship between language and reality. One of my aims in this exploration is to better understand the relationship between academic discourse and public life.
A second line of thought is a development of the work presented in Paris here last year, which was about how research methodologies can engage citizens into the process of academic research. My focus since then has been on emphasising that participatory research methods should not just focus on research but also on research-based solutions through interventions. For example, in work that we are doing in Lebanon, Citizen scientists – members of the communities whom we recruit as researchers on our team – have followed up the research phase by creating their own interventtions and making real tangible impact to the delivery of services.
In a sense both of these themes are about pathways to prosperity and the relationship between academic and public life – one focuses on discourse and language, the other on action.