Editorial: Research as practice: on critical methodologies

Motzkau, Johanna F. and Jefferson, Andrew M. (2009). Editorial: Research as practice: on critical methodologies. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 6(1-2) pp. 1–11.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780880902896416


Isabelle Stengers, perhaps unwittingly, perhaps knowingly, echoes a theme of the work of American philosopher Stanley Cavell (1995, p. 136) when she invites in the first edition of the journal Subjectivity, her readers to join her in slowing down, in hesitating, pausing, taking a breath in the face of our own endeavours to ‘produce subjectivity’ (Stengers, 2008, p. 49). Cavell’s gesture of hesitation is similarly evocative and provocative. Where Stengers pushes for an approach which betrays or reveals rather than denounces, Cavell suggests that in the face of apparently constitutive philosophical oppositions, in stead of seeking to decide we should seek to dismantle. Betrayal rather than denunciation; revelation rather than condemnation; dismantling rather than deciding. Alluring and seductive ideas but the question is begged: where is the critical edge? This volume grapples with this question. It hesitates in the face of the complex relations between theory, research methods and practice, and the persons and places, or milieus, they are embedded in. It represents an attempt to revive the question as to what it means to do psychology critically, or for that matter, to practice critical theory.

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