Sometimes it takes me a bit of time to ask the key questions! Maybe I don't frame the questions until I am within sight of the answers. A paper from Caroline by Bernie Carter in the Journal of Research in Nursing 2006 helped me get to a view point and sparked this blog entry: One expertise among many - working appreciatively to make miracles instead of finding problems:using appreciative enquiry as a way of reframing research, http://jrn.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/11/1/48 . ' AI, at it's heart, is about studying and exploring what gives life to human systems when they are at their best'. This contrasts with the focus on problems and their solutions in much historical and contemporary social science research.
In The Politics of Aesthetics, Jacques Ranciere writes ' The nineteenth century was haunted by the Platonic paradigm of the democratic dissolution of the social body, by the fanciful correlation between democracy/individualism/Protestantism/revolution/the disintegration of the social bond. This can be expressed in more or less poetic or scientific terms...in more or less reactionary or progressive terms.' He goes on to say thay sociology was born from this concern with the lost social bond - as a problem.
Appreciative enquiry then, with it's focus on what works, relational processes, multiple knowledges and expertise is a radical departure. However it resonates well with a socially engaged arts practice both in terms of collaboration with researchers and in terms of engaging with participants in creative and/or research projects.
This is an o.k. place to be.