Introduction: Action Research, Policy and Politics

Koen Bartels, Julia Wittmayer, Miren Larrea

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The underpinning rationale of this special issue is that the societal challenges we are facing require fundamental, long-term societal transformations that need to be co-produced by all relevant stakeholders. This includes the role and functioning of policy and politics, inviting us to imagine and enact new political-economic frameworks (Speth & Courrier, 2020). It also includes the role and functioning of science, inviting us to conceive and develop spaces to coproduce
critical knowledge, transformative action and trustful relations (Bartels & Wittmayer, 2018). This special issue therefore addresses the need to connect across different fields to address societal problems, including climate change and social justice. This editorial is not only an introduction to this special issue. The International Journal of Action Research (IJAR) aims for it to create a window of opportunity for researchers wanting to explore transformation at the interface of action research, policy and politics. By inviting us as guest editors, IJAR deliberately selected the fields of policy analysis, sustainability transition
research and territorial development, because of ongoing efforts for cross-fertilisation at this interface. Hence, this editorial is also an invitation for action researchers in (and beyond) these fields to contribute to the ensuing conversation, about how to address multiple challenges emerging across fields committed to transformative change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Action Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021


  • Action research
  • Policy
  • Politics
  • Sustainability
  • Transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science


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