A commitment to embodying joy in the service of social justice: embodied leadership when exploring difference
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Subjectaction learning research; embodied leadership; first-person action research; joy; social justice; somatics
This thesis explored the question, “How might I, a first-generation white Canadian settler of British and Irish ancestry, navigate difference through reflexive and embodied practices to more intentionally lead with joy in the service of social justice?” As a first-person action research inquiry applying an action learning research methodology, methods included reflexive experiential learning, structured and emergent journal practices, and semistructured dialogues. This study found somatic indicators supported researching which was complex, and embodied leadership in the service of social justice may experiment with a yes-and approach to shift from old to new behaviours. Findings highlighted my interwoven and oscillating learning through moments of joy, difference, and actions toward social justice. Findings included reembodying the whole person; reclaiming my more authentic, wild wisdom; acknowledging white fragility and still acting in allyship; and learning to embody joy. Recommendations for embodied leadership praxis and areas for further study arose from this study. Keywords: action learning research; allyship; embodied leadership; first-person action research; joy; navigating difference; social justice; somatics.
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