Fractured Lives, Dissenting Voices, Recovering ‘Truth’: Frontiers of Research and Resistance
Emerging from critical conferences in the early 1970s involving academic researchers, community-based workers and activists, critical social research challenged the role and legitimacy of mainstream social sciences in their support of social orders fractured by class, ‘race’, sectarianism, gender, sexuality and age. This article opens with a brief reflection on the emergence and consolidation of critical social theory as the foundation and context for research that challenges state-institutionalised power and authority. It draws on long-term, in-depth primary research into the operational policies and practices of policing and incarceration, exploring the profound challenges involved in bearing witness to the ‘pain of others’. Recounting personal testimonies ‘from below’, revealing institutionalised deceit and pursuing ‘truth recovery’, it argues that dissenting voices are the foundation of hope, resistance and transformation.
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