Engaged scholarship and narratives of change in a comparative perspective


This VICI project has the ambition of investigating and contributing to a more comprehensive and transformative form of co-operation between academy and society. The empirical angle of the project will be the societal inclusion of refugees, arguably the most urgent challenge of this decade. Its underlying assumption is that the social sciences have a role in enlarging societal and academic imaginations by connecting local, historical, and analytical knowledge to enable actual inclusion of disadvantaged groups. This project addresses the following question:
What is the contribution of engaged scholarship in stimulating and stipulating the conditions and narratives of change towards inclusion of refugees in the light of competing societal and academic demands and structures?
While engaging with insights from an extensive body of literature on the limitations of democracy, this project is particularly inspired by the exciting literature on deep democracy and the “marginalized” in imagining societal inclusion. Using qualitative research methodology and a comparative perspective (South Africa, the US, and The Netherlands), the first objective of this project is to collect country-based data documenting two sets of narratives (refugees and engaged academics) on the contribution and challenges of academic engagement in the lives of refugees. Furthermore, the project in itself will be a site of scholarly engagement with societal stakeholders and communities. The second objective is to gain a deeper understanding of the views on and the position of engaged scholarship within academia and society in each country. The third objective is to explore historical and contextual differences through a comparative analysis of the data (narratives and participatory sites) from the three countries, thus enabling reflection on national blind spots on societal change and engaged scholarship in each setting.





Prof. dr. H. Ghorashi

Verbonden aan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Sociologie en Sociale Gerontologie


Z. Aumaj, T. Fiorito MSc, Prof. dr. H. Ghorashi, A.M.A. Greene, K.J.H. Mars, MA. Ocadiz Arriaga, Dr. E. Ponzoni, MC Rast, N.E. Scholten


01/11/2018 tot 01/08/2023