Towards ever more extended epistemologies: pluriversality and decolonisation of knowledges in participatory inquiry

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This chapter examines extended epistemologies (understood pluralistically) and extended epistemology (understood as a concept conceived by John Heron, and developed in collaboration with Peter Reason) within participatory inquiry. It positions the notion of extended epistemology alongside contemporary epistemological debates—predominantly originating in the Global South—on epistemicide, (de)colonisation of knowledge(s), and knowledge democracy. The chapter highlights the substantial contributions of Heron and Reason’s extended epistemology to participatory research, including inspiring methodological innovations, revitalising quality criteria, and establishing legitimacy for more expansive approaches to knowledge-production. Simultaneously, I argue for greater engagement with other distinctive epistemologies and intersecting subaltern perspectives which inform participatory research across the world. These, I propose, support us in both re-personalising and re-politicising the epistemological questions, tensions, and possibilities underpinning our work. This means us decolonising and creating space for epistemological diversity and pluriversality within our own identities, heritages, and practices. Simultaneously, it requires ongoing attempts to dismantle cultural, ideological, and epistemic violence and hegemony. The concluding sections highlight some notable examples of cutting-edge experiments in pluriversality and decolonisation. These and other exemplars of epistemic decolonial turns support us in more fully entangling the personal and the political in participatory inquiry, towards ever more pluralistic, extended epistemologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Participatory Inquiry
EditorsDanny Burns, Joanna Howard, Sonia Ospina
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
EditionFirst Edition
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Decolonising/Decolonisation
  • Epistemic decolonial turns
  • Extended Epistemology
  • Indigenous Knowledges
  • Global South
  • Knowledge democracy
  • Multiple ways of knowing
  • Participatory inquiry
  • Participatory epistemology
  • Pluriversality


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