Chapter 1.4: Researching to Transgress and Transform

  • Deanne Bell


This paper draws on interviews with residents of Tivoli Gardens, an inner city community in Kingston, Jamaica in which 74 people were killed by the state in May 2010. Three researchers are collaborating to witness survivors’ stories of trauma in order to create a public art installation to memorialize loved ones lost and break historical silences thereby catalyzing conscientization. Taylor’s (Disappearing acts: spectacles of gender and nationalism in Argentina’s dirty war. Duke University, Durham, 1997) concept of percepticide – as the annihilation of the perception and understanding of atrocities – is proposed to account for ways in which interviewees simultaneously know but do not acknowledge the meaning of the violence. Freire’s (1987) idea of liberatory education – as a praxis that critically challenges psychic colonization (Oliver, The colonization of psychic space. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2004) – is extended to research practices with emancipatory aims. Furthermore, this work explores the psychological conditions under which people living in death saturated environments begin to perceive the social structures that permit mass murder. It proposes a form of inquiry that transgresses social science research norms by empowering research participants to critically analyze the world in which they live.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deanne Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.Antioch CollegeYellow SpringsUSA

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