SIG In Critical and Poststructural Qualitative Psychology

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

The Day in Qualitative Psychology is the opening meeting of the Special Interest Group (SIG) in Critical and Poststructural Psychology at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The goal of the SIG is to promote, develop, and celebrate creative qualitative inquiry in critical and poststructural psychology, with special attention to issues of social justice and disparity.

This year’s dynamic keynote address will be facilitated by two junior scholars, Dr. Jessika Boles, (Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA), and Dr. Miguel Roselló Peñaloza (Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Santiago, Chile).

For the full abstract of the talks, please visit our page on ICQI’s website,, or our Facebook page, ICQI’s Qualitative Psychology.



Wednesday will also host our new event, “Putting Theory to Work.” These sessions will provide attendees with a “taste” of putting specific poststructural/critical theories and methodologies to work in the fields of psychology. Attendees are invited to actively “play” with data using unconventional, practice-oriented, and innovative approaches under the guidance of a methodologist. The aim of these sessions is to bridge theory and practice in a playful and hands-on manner, increase engagement with unconventional approaches, and encourage vibrant community-oriented research.

This year’s session topics and facilitators will be:

  • Playing with Discourse Angelo Benozzo
  • Arts-Based Contemplative Practice Kakali Bhattacharya
  • Photo-Elicitation Heather Adams



We see poststructural inquiries as moving away from attempts to provide realistic, universal, and fixed representations and from referents and answers that are not situated in historical, political, and cultural positions. In underscoring the close link between knowledge and power, and the (im)possibilities of representation, poststructural forms of inquiry explore, participate in, and deconstruct experiences and meanings as part of discursive frames, linguistic practices, and relational realities. Knowledges become non-linear, fluid, and liminal between fields and disciplines, and outside of them. Rather than finding finite answers, inquiries open up possibilities, questions, and multiplicity, with an eye toward issues and constructions of social justice, inequality, and emancipation.

Aware of the political and agentic situatedness of every form of inquiry, critical researchers seek to achieve equality and/or foster resistance, usually through collaborative and mutual approaches to an identified social issue and the knowledge/practice that may be developed or performed for its amelioration. Research is transformed into a diffractive and political practice that contributes to the empowerment of participants and to their resistance against institutionalized and hierarchical knowledge



The deadline for abstract and initiator submissions is December 1, 2017.

Individual Papers and Panels (Friday & Saturday, May 19 & 20, 2018)



During the main congress on Friday and Saturday, the SIG will organize panel presentations on different theoretical perspectives for qualitative inquiry in psychology. We invite researchers, practitioners, scholars, students, and all others within subfields of psychology to join us at this event and to engage in vibrant and thought-provoking conversations about innovative and non-conventional (post-)qualitative methodologies and experiences that may be most useful in the field of psychology. Please come and share your work, thoughts, and dreams about qualitative psychology, and how to build psychological research as a novel, engaged, and non-essentialist practice.

Submissions for individual papers are limited to 150-word abstracts. Panel submissions are comprised of at least four (4) but not more than five (5) papers, each paper with full abstract (150 words each) and author information. Panels are guaranteed an 80-minute slot (individual paper presentations are expected to run 12-15 minutes). Within each panel, we recommend allowing a generous time for Questions & Answers. The SIG Committee will organize individual papers into panels.

Although we encourage work with critical, poststructural, or social justice focus, all presentations related to qualitative psychology will be considered. We also welcome unconventional forms of communication, representation, and audience involvement.

All submissions must be processed through the link:

Be sure to indicate:

  • that your presentation is part of the SIG in Qualitative Psychology, and
  • intended as individual paper or panel.

SIG submission is included in the regular congress attendance fee.


Conference organizers:

  • Heather Adams, Trauma & Change Research Group, USA,
  • Katharina A. Azim, University at Buffalo (SUNY), (co-chair)
  • Angelo Benozzo, University of Valle d’Aosta, Italy,
  • Marco Gemignani, Duquesne University and Universidad Loyola Andalucia, Spain
  • Michael Kral, Wayne State University, USA,
  • Paul Rhodes, The University of Sydney, Australia, (co-chair)

SIG consultants:

  • Cynthia Langtiw, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, USA
  • Cesar Cisneros Puebla, UAM Iztapalapa, Mexico,
  • Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, Arizona State University, USA,

Keynote Speakers 2018 

Dr. Miguel Roselló Peñaloza

“Psychology, Psychiatry, and Hospital Practice: The Role of Psy Sciences in the Construction of Gender.”

To say that the psychiatric and psychological clinic does violence to the lives it works with is nothing new. It is a troubling statement, nonetheless. Of course, saying this is not to deny the good intentions that legitimate every practice involved in clinical work, but to recognize that its narratives contain dangers when reproduce exclusive social norms transformed into canons of mental good health, constructing a scientific and unquestionable border between what is desirable and undesirable. This presentation will bring together the results of different research projects – conducted in public hospitals of Chile and Spain – analyzing clinical practices and discourses around gender and sexualities. In specific, regarding the psychological devaluation of the feminine, the biologization of gender, and the clinical construction of trans people as unintelligible, aiming to visualize how this scientific knowledge and practices relate with material violence against the subjects involved.

Miguel Roselló Peñaloza, M.Cs., Ph.D., Psychologist (Universidad de Chile), M.Cs. in Psychosocial Intervention (Universidad de Barcelona), Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Education and Health (University of Girona). He is specialized in discourse analysis with critical social perspectives. His areas of interest gather around critical social psychology, feminisms and queer theory; the construction of difference and stigmati-zation based on sex, gender and sexual practices; HIV prevention; homophobia and transphobia; deconstruction of psychopathology and power relations in science, clinical practices and public politics. He is currently working in Chile at the Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano and is an associate member of the Research Group Discourse, Gender, Culture and Science -DIGECIC-, of the Research Institute on Quality of Life -IRQV- and of the Inter-University Women and Gender Studies Institute -iiEDG- (Catalunya, Spain).

Dr. Jessika Boles

“All the Scaffolding We Cannot See: Dying Children, Dead Relatives, and the Dismantling of Living/Dying.”

What do (post)-qualitative researchers, educational psycholo-gists, child life specialists, and mourning granddaughters have in common? Very little at first glance. But, they do share questions, critique, and continuous re-interpretations of what was once considered “known”…just through different epistemological and theoretical lenses. The experiences of young children being treated for cancer, your own experiences of grief/loss, or the ways in which hospitalized children and their families describe “legacy,” point out the connections and tensions between life and death as understood in dominant discourse. At the same time, conducting research in such emotion-laden and inescapably human types of experiences can be a challenging balance to achieve. Normalcy, routines, and structure are readily accepted comforts as a researcher, clinician, or co-participant in this type of work. However, these coping mechanisms – as elements of qualitative design and analysis – can reinforce and propagate the very power relations that complicate our encounters with serious illness and loss, regardless of mechanism. Therefore, this presentation will de-construct and re-assemble qualitative design as an intentional, though uncertain, medium for facilitating expression, promoting exploration, and taking action within living/dying.

Jessika Boles, Ph.D., CCLS, is a child life specialist in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Grounded in post-structuralism, her work situates child development and educational processes in culturally charged and healthcare-focused learning environments such as the pediatric hospital, outpatient clinic, community, and family. Blending recognizable, critical, and post-qualitative methods with established developmental theories, her research specifically deconstructs the ways in which children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, as well as caregivers and healthcare providers, learn about and enact dominant social binaries such as health/illness, life/death, and adulthood/childhood. Ultimately, her research interests are motivated by and entangled within a desire to make space for thinking differently about childhood cancer, familial loss, death, and the co-creation of legacy.