Kakali Bhattacharya, University of Florida

Absurd hopescapes: Flipping the script through* justice oriented qualitative research

Being engaged in justice oriented qualitative research, I have learned that oppressive forces enact draining and killing of spirits and hopes. Such draining compromises resistance to local, national, and global oppressive forces and creates battle-fatigue amongst those who are regularly at the receiving end of multiple forms of oppression. Using critical historicity, in this talk, I trace how absurdity has functioned as a resistant apparatus to dismantle normalization of multiple forms of oppression. Specifically, I share how I use absurdity as inquiry, interrogative and analytic device, and a form of representation to create hopescapes within the terrain of justice-oriented qualitative research. I posit that absurdity can work as a dismantling tool as well as a generative device for hope. Absurdity, as an introspective tool, helps recognize what is being lost when all of our energies are invested in the oppressor/oppressed binary relationship, creature erasure of other nurturing and spirit-fulfilling relationships and practices. Thus, employing flipping the script is one method of engaging in absurdity, while expanding the terrain of possibilities for qualitative research that were previously unimaginable or unknown.

Patrick J. Lewis, University of Regina, Canada

Pandora’s Box: Revisiting notions of hope through story.

Story is so intrinsically entwined with our day-to-day lives, and so abundant that we often pay little attention to its significance with being human. Story is so often shot through with the possibilities and potentialities of the human condition. Narrative imagination plays an integral role in creating reality, in creating the world. It is safe to say that story is one of the principal modes of human meaning making; it is through story that we learn the world and it is through the world that we learn stories. Hope tends to be rather conspicuous in many stories, in fact it is often one of the drivers of the plot of stories. Interestingly, hope tends to figure prominently in a great deal of Qualitative Inquiry work despite the ongoing narrative of living in “these uncertain times”, these “challenging times” or “these demanding times”. But how or what do stories of hope do in these times, in this time, or any time? Through story itself this presentation explores if stories can upend Nietzsche’s rejection of hope and nurture transformative change. While we often see stories as containing lessons or teachings through fostering social cooperation, teaching social norms, and empathy, stories are so much more, they just don’t embody knowledge, they are knowledge. Perhaps there are some stories for these times.