Participatory action research as pedagogy: Boundaries in Syracuse

Alison Mountz, Eli B. Moore, Lori Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper explores the potential of participatory action research (PAR) as pedagogy in urban university classrooms. We address models and ideals of service learning, participatory action research, and critical pedagogy. We then explain the design, implementation, and outcomes of a recent class co-taught in the departments of geography, women's studies, and architecture at Syracuse University called 'Boundaries in Syracuse'. The class was organized conceptually and practically around the objective of documenting the boundaries at work in the daily lives of city residents. We find that principles of critical pedagogy substantiate the basis of participatory action research as an approach that addresses some of the shortcomings of service learning. We reflect on the class to assess the opportunities that accompany PAR in the urban classroom as well as the challenges, including (among others) the resources required and the gendering of community-engaged work at universities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-238
Number of pages25
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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