Liberating Community-based Research: Rescuing Gramsci’s Legacy of Organic Intellectuals


  • José Wellington Sousa University of Regina



organic intellectuals, adult education, community-based research facilitation


This article aims to provoke a discussion around conceiving community members as community-based research facilitators and leaders of their own process of change. It argues this is possible by rescuing Gramsci’s legacy of organic intellectuals that is present in community-based research literature, particularly under the participatory research rubric. However, this perspective has been overshadowed by a strong emphasis on community-based research (CBR) as a collaborative research approach rather than a people’s approach for knowledge production that leads to social transformation. Furthermore, such a view of community-based research is fruitful within an adult education and social movement learning framework. In a sense, social movements provide an environment that facilitates critical consciousness and the formation of organic intellectuals and in which communities and academics learn to better engage in partnership for community-led social change. In this context, CBR is still a collaborative approach, but one led primarily by organic intellectuals. 

Author Biography

José Wellington Sousa, University of Regina

is an emerging community development scholar placed in Canada. He is an assistant professor at Crandall University and a PhD candidate in Adult Education and Community Engagement at the University of Regina. His current research interests include asset-based and community-led development, community-based research facilitators and facilitation. 


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How to Cite

Sousa, J. W. (2022). Liberating Community-based Research: Rescuing Gramsci’s Legacy of Organic Intellectuals. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 8(3), 1–17.

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