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Pragmatism and Community Inquiry: A Case Study of Community-Based Learning

From: Education and Culture
Volume 29, Number 1, 2013
pp. 27-45 | 10.1353/eac.2013.0004



This paper develops a philosophical basis for the concept of community inquiry. Community inquiry derives from pragmatist theory as articulated by Dewey, Peirce, Addams, and others. Following Brendel, we discuss pragmatism in terms of its emphasis on the practical dimensions of inquiry, the pluralistic nature of the tools that are used to study phenomena, the participatory role of individuals with different perspectives, and the provisional nature of inquiry. We then apply this framework in a case study of community inquiry in an urban agriculture project. The example shows how learning occurs both within and beyond the school, and how education can be more connected to community life.

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