Coalition for Critical Qualitative Inquiry

Coalition for Critical Qualitative Inquiry

TOPIC:  Exploring Critical Qualitative Inquiries that Increase

 Possibilities for Justice in Post(?)-Pandemic ‘Neoliberal’ Times

A Day of Becoming-With Critical Qualitative Inquiry

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


As post(?)-pandemic conditions, climate change, and environmental injustices continue to generate increased opportunities for neoliberal and disaster capitalism, justice-oriented critical researchers must transform research philosophies, problems, and actions in ways that facilitate historical critical inquiry to become-with innovative ways to conceptualize and address equity and justice in all its forms. Therefore, in 2023 and beyond, groups of critical scholars hope to form research alliances that increase possibilities for the justice, healing, and hope that all deserve. This CCQI Wednesday session for 2023 begins by making-kin with the past, present and future in ways that generate rethought, previously unthought, and innovative forms of justice and equity. The day will be filled with opinions and ideas expressed by a range of diverse scholars, but, more importantly, through discussions generated by audience participants.

Making-Kin with the Past and Present

For some time, researchers engaging in critical qualitative scholarship – whether feminist, postcolonial, poststructural, queer theories, or recently in intersection with indigenous voices, critical race/disability/tribal/migration theories, and posthuman perspectives – have called for the construction of a critical qualitative science that challenges disciplinary boundaries and rethinks research as construct and practice for purposes of increasing justice and equity. This critical work always and already insists on more just transformations and actions, whether social, environmental, material, political, academic, or for the earth and worlds more broadly that have not been privileged with the dominant construction of the label ‘human.’ The broad expanse of qualitative research as a field has furthered these critical reconceptualizations. As critical scholars, we hope to directly impact the world as we become-with a larger number, and diversity of critical relatives and ancestors. Remnants of critical histories are our reminders:


Historical Whispers

In the first edition of the Handbook of Qualitative Research (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994), and acknowledging kin and ancestors like – Michelle Foucault, Paulo Freire, Julia Kristeva, bell hooks, Stuart Hall, and Cornel West – Joe Kincheloe and Peter McLaren discuss critical research defining criticalists as those who conduct justice oriented scholarship always keeping in mind certain basic assumptions:

  • Thought as fundamentally mediated by power relations that are social and historically constituted;
  • Facts as never isolated from the domain of values that represent some form of ideological inscription;
  • Relationships between concept and object and between signifier and signified as never stable or fixed and often mediated by the social relations of capitalist production and consumption;
  • Oppression/inequity as having many faces and that focusing on one at the expense of others often elides the interconnections among them; and
  • Mainstream research practices as generally, although often unwittingly, implicated in the reproduction of systems of class, race, and gender oppression.” (pp. 139-140).

Further, the authors call for a “critical humility” and close by proposing that engaging with critical research “is to take part in a process of critical world making, guided by the shadowed outline of a dream of a world less conditioned by misery, suffering, and the politics of deceit” (p. 154).

As further critical work has continued over the years, we can point to all kinds of research across various fields using a range of critically oriented perspectives. By 2008, in the Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies, Norman Denzin, Yvonna Lincoln, and Linda Smith remind critical scholars that revisioning critical work is necessary in ways that merge critical and indigenous perspective without silencing and/or co-opting indigenous ways of living/being. Following Julie Kaomea’s (2004) call for “allied others” (p. 32), the authors propose that we as fellow travelers “deconstruct from within the Western academy and its positivist epistemologies” (p. 6). Many of us, in a range of fields, have attempted to do just that for the past 30-40 years illustrated, as example, in work of various reconceptualist scholars in the field of childhood studies who combine anti-colonial/anti-racist/anti-sexist research with critical posthuman and environmental justice studies with/for childhoods.

Most recently, a range of so-called posthuman perspectives could, in some cases, be located within, or considered expansions of, or becomings-with, critical qualitative inquiry. The work of Rosi Braidotti (2016) in Posthuman Critical Theory is a good illustration. The author proposes critical cartography, even as related to the multiple, yet often, oppositional ‘posthuman” perspectives. She suggests that research should reject closed systems of thought; be concerned that there is a tendency to posit humanity as a unitary category imposed over the so-called nonhuman; acknowledge the condition(s) created within the contemporary violence of capitalist de-territorializations; and recognize that the contemporary global economy has territorialized life/zoe itself.

Even with this history, along with volumes of critical work, the contemporary imposition of neoliberal forms of knowledge and practice broadly is a continued and immediate threat.  As Braidotti reminds us, “capitalist de-territorializations are never transformative in a qualitative ethical sense” (p. 20).  From within this dangerous, immoral, and inequitable neoliberal condition that has been further facilitated through pandemics and disasters, critical work remains of utmost importance. Most recently, in Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Anti-Black World, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson illustrates the embeddedness within racism, sexism, and other forms of disqualification through which dominant perspectives create particular groups of people, as well as other life forms, as subhuman. Finally, as critical perspectives have brought to the forefront the Euro-American white male anthropocentrism that dominates research, those concerned with social, life, and environmental conditions, along with equity and care, hope to challenge all forms of injustice.

Becoming-With the Future

The main purpose of the Critical Qualitative Inquiry SIG within ICQI and beyond is to construct coalitions of individuals and alliances from a range of fields that systematically and supportively work together to:

  1. Continually expand visibility for existing critical work and the complexities of that work across diverse lifeworlds and forms of being,
  2. Maintain critical qualitative inquiry as an avenue for equity and justice,
  3. Construct diverse forms of critical qualitative inquiry, related forms of activism, and innovative methods for sharing justice work; and
  4. Systematically support critical qualitative scholars struggling under contemporary neoliberal conditions to facilitate just transformations.



Wednesday, May 17, 2023 PROGRAM


TOPIC:  “Exploring Critical Qualitative Inquiries that Increase

 Possibilities for Justice”

 in Post(?)-Pandemic Neoliberal Times

Sessions will be led by discussion leaders, some who have been critical qualitative researchers for many years and others who are just beginning critical work. Each discussion leader will briefly share their own opinion regarding critical qualitative inquiry. The entire group will then be opened for a broad-based discussion between/with audience members along with discussion leaders. The discussion leaders and topical questions are listed below.

SESSION 1     9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Topic: What can be meant by Critical Qualitative Inquiries that increase possibilities for justice?

Donald R. Collins, Prairie View A&M University, USA

Michael Giardina, Florida State University, USA

Director of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Aitor Gomez, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, SPAIN

Jennifer Wolgemuth, University of South Florida, USA

BREAK          10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

SESSION 2   10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Topic: What are your conceptualizations of, reactions to critique of critiques, and possibilities for, critical qualitative inquiry?

Julianne Cheek, Ostfold University College, Halden, NORWAY

César Cisneros Puebla, University of Tarapaca, CHILE

Javania Michelle Webb, University of California-Riverside, USA

LUNCH          12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

SESSION 3      1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Topic: How can critical qualitative research be reconceptualized in ways that are transformative toward increased justice while also continuing to challenge linearity and progressive universals?

Venus Evans-Winters, Ohio State University, USA

Amanda Tachine, Arizona State University, USA

Marek Tesar, University of Auckland, NEW ZEALAND


FINAL SESSION: Planning for Research and Justice Alliances

All discussion leaders and audience participants will be invited to plan, and contribute to, an extensive directly related special publication. Additionally, a framework for a five year plan related to justice and CQI activist research and writing will be generated.

CCQI Steering Committee:

Gaile S. Cannella, Independent Scholar, [email protected]

Donald R. Collins, Prairie View A&M University, [email protected]

Mirka Koro, Arizona State University,  [email protected]

Aaron Kuntz, Florida International University, [email protected]

Penny Pasque, Ohio State University,  [email protected]