Our philosophy is that human development and well-being are promoted through the interactions between people and the ecological settings (organizations, social networks, communities) of which they are a part. Through many different avenues, our research and outreach are directed toward positively impacting these settings and the patterns of human behavior within them. Our research is about the way in which social movements, associations, media shapes the decisions that affect society with a particular focus on security.
At DPI, we are concerned with explaining how individuals and social actors navigate the disjuncture’s between key populations and society, whether it is the disjuncture between women and access to basic social needs; access to education and the insecurity of ordinary Ugandans; formal elections and the aspirations of society.
This kind of research requires a rethinking of social science knowledge and of our methodologies. Our methods are characterised by three interconnected components. First, we adopt a dialogic rather than a monologic approach. All of us are concerned with bringing together tacit knowledge – the everyday knowledge of people who experience segregation or financial crisis as well as the knowledge of practitioners- with social science knowledge. Our sort of social science aims to digest, categorize and analyze tacit knowledge as well as more traditional approaches to social science. Thus, we combine exotic theories with more conventional data bases or subjective experience with external observation.
Secondly, we are applying the concepts of complexity and reflexivity. One is concerned with methods of pulling together multiple dimensions of social life. The other is concerned with the role we ourselves play as agents as well as observers – how our observations influence what we are observing and how those who are observed influence us.