ICQI 2014: Qualitative Inquiry and the Politics of Research

I am delighted to have had my abstract entitled “Walking the Talk: Tensions between Analysis and Advocacy in Ethical Inquiry” accepted for the Tenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Champaign-Urbana in May 2014. Whilst I am attempting to synthesize analysis and advocacy in my thesis, giving this paper allows me to play with the ‘partial, moral and political ways of knowing’ that my research and activism represent in a more polemical fashion!


As a pedagogue and activist I seek to challenge epistemologies of ignorance which perpetuate the notion of all Muslim women as “domesticated, subjugated and unenlightened” (Abdulrazek 2007: 69) by providing alternative, collaboratively-authored accounts of Yemeni women’s lives. In the academy however, these stories also function as data and are therefore grist to the analytic mill, which requires their deconstruction, a process which potentially challenges those carefully co-constructed representations. Whilst relationships are central to ethical research practices, scholars rarely acknowledge the ways in which they betray, dispossess or ‘other’ their participants during the analysis stage. Believing that it is the process that should distinguish research undertaken in pursuit of a social justice agenda, I discuss my use of a voice-relational method of analysis in an attempt to explore women’s experiences “in a respectful manner that legitimates women’s voices as sources of knowledge” (Campbell & Wasco 2000: 783).