Drawing on a growing consensus about the importance of community representation and participation for ethical research, community engagement has become a central component of scientific research, policy-making, ethical review, and technology design. The diversity of actors involved in large-scale global health research collaborations and the broader ‘background conditions’ of global inequality and injustice that frame the field have led some researchers, funders, and policy-makers to conclude that community engagement is nothing less than a moral imperative in global health research.
Rather than taking community engagement as a given, the contributions in this edited volume highlight how processes of community engagement are shaped by particular local histories and social and political dynamics, and by the complex social relations between different actors involved in global public health research. By interrogating the everyday politics and practices of engagement across diverse contexts, the book pushes conversations around engagement and participation beyond their conventional framings. In doing so, it raises radical questions about knowledge, power, expertise, authority, representation, inclusivity, and ethics and to make recommendations for more transformative, inclusive, and meaningful community engagement.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Critical Public Health journal.