Action research and empowerment in Denmark: Experiences from three different contexts

John Andersen, Annette Bilfeldt, Michael Søgaard Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter presents experiences from action research projects in Denmark
in three contexts:
1. A public nursing home, where the objective was to improve the
quality of eldercare with special reference to social life among
residents, as an alternative to the rigid and bureaucratic focus of
New Public Management
2. A marginalized urban area, where the objective was to develop a
community centre which could strengthen social capital and
facilitate empowerment of both residents and welfare workers
3. A local project about sustainable housing, where the objective was
to design and build houses which could act as prototypes and
inspiration for the development of sustainable housing.
The chapter illustrates and discusses how action research can, with the active
participation of local citizens, public employees, private employees and
environmental organizations amongst others, contribute to strengthen
these actors’ capacity to actively influence the development of society and
contribute to better social and environmental conditions.
The first part of the chapter introduces the core concepts of action research
and empowerment with references to international contributions.
The next part concerns the larger societal context and the concrete
methodologies applied in three projects, and the successes, failures and
results from these three cases. The last concluding part compares and reflects
upon similarities and differences in the methods and empowerment
mechanisms across the different contexts, and illustrates thereby the roles
of Danish action research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParticipation and power : In participatory research and action research
EditorsMarianne Kristiansen, Jørgen Bloch-Poulsen
Place of PublicationAalborg
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7112-164-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesSerie om lærings-, forandrings- og organisationsudviklingsprocesser


  • Action Research
  • Empowerment
  • Democracy
  • Work Environment
  • Environment
  • Innovation

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