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Why we should walk away from using terms like "giving or capturing voice," in qualitative research. I hope you will read and share. #qualitativeresearch #highered #highereducation #critqual #educolor #decolonial #phdadvice #phdchat #phdlife #languagematters
1. First, the lineage and practices of qualitative research are grounded in western, global north sensibilities. Look at what is being used as dominant texts and who the authors are. Creswell and others rarely ever wrote a word thinking about people who look like me.
2. I've had to unlearn what was understood to be status quo, including the overwhelming amount of agency presumed by the researcher. I wrote about this in a book chapter titled, "Othering Research, Researching the Other (full text in ResearchGate).
3. We can no longer presume that the researcher is somehow more agentic than the researched without being complicit with the structures of oppression. What makes us think that the participants do not have a voice and we are the Voice Benefactors doling out Voice to the Voiceless?
4. People have voice, but who listens to them & how is what is critical in understanding the effects of structures of oppression. The subaltern has been speaking for a long time. She just hasn't been listened to thoughtfully & with care by those who benefit from her oppression.
5. So we do not "give voice" to anyone. Let us not elevate ourselves with such delusions of grandeur. We might amplify the existing voices in the spaces in which we exist. Our participants are just as agentic, and in some instances, perhaps more than us.
6. Now - capturing voices. Nope, nope, nope. Ain't no one should be "capturing" anything or anyone. This is the language of invasion that has been easily normalized. Why do you want to capture? Are you Ursula from the Little Mermaid? Who will you seduce with this captured voice?
7. No one should be "capturing" voice. We should enter the research space humbly to learn, not to extract data from people, capture voice, give voice, liberate people, or any of the tropes that reify the imagination of the dominant group in power.
8. Beyond semantics, the use of these terms represent an orientation we have as researchers, how we view the participants and our roles as researchers. If our training has been through privileged discourses, then we might not think twice about using such concepts.
9. I advise my students to think of who they are in relation to their studies, and if they have any special agency to grant voice to those who already have voice, or change the ways in which they listen and share.
10. Spivak reminds me that who listens is just as important, if not more, than who speaks, and when people speak, we should listen seriously, instead of listening with a benevolent imperialism. /endrant
Edit - Why we should stop* using terms like "giving or “capturing voice," in qualitative research. Some of my ableist privileges came through in the first tweet.
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