Session: Navigating Challenges in Critical Feminist Domestic Violence Research (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

328 Navigating Challenges in Critical Feminist Domestic Violence Research

Sunday, January 20, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Continental Parlor 7, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Gender (G)
Gita Mehrotra, PhD, Portland State University, Ericka Kimball, PhD, Portland State University, Miriam Valdovinos, PhD, University of Connecticut, Mimi Kim, PhD, California State University, Long Beach and Orchid Pusey, MA, Asian Women's Shelter
In the Grand Challenges for social work, ‘‘Ending gender-based violence" constitutes one of two streams for the Grand Challenge #3, Stop Family Violence (Edleson, Lindhorst, & Kanuha, 2015). Despite the proliferation of domestic violence (DV) research in social work, we posit that little attention is paid to the political and economic conditions that create and shape anti-violence research, practice, policy and how these conditions impact efforts that social workers might enact to meet this Grand Challenge. As such, in our work we have prioritized examining the ways that neoliberalism, criminalization, and professionalization create a “braid” that shapes and constrains the kind of work made im/possible in our DV research and praxis. In our feminist case study research, we are studying domestic violence advocacy training in Oregon to explore and critique how the braid is both reinforced and resisted through the ways that advocates are trained to participate in anti-violence work, and the development of the policy in Oregon that supports advocate confidentiality through mandatory training. In this roundtable, we use our experience of this project and the praxis of other feminist scholars and practitioners to engage with some of the challenges we have encountered in our efforts to conduct critical feminist DV research in social work.


In this roundtable, we convene scholars and practitioners to discuss some of the complexities of navigating critical feminist praxis in the context of domestic violence research. We will specifically highlight and explore some of the tensions in doing critical feminist research such as: how to critique anti-violence work without undermining existing efforts or disempowering those doing the work; managing the tension between slow scholarship and/or community engaged work and academic timelines (e.g. tenure expectations); creating multiple products for different audiences (e.g. publishing in academic journals and also creating products more relevant to advocates); doing research within communities that one is a part of; and navigating values incongruence between feminist methods grounded in intentional, collaborative relationships and the individualistic and patriarchal approaches most often reflected in academia.


This roundtable session will engage a dialogue about strategies for navigating critical feminist praxis in DV research in social work. Each roundtable participant will speak about their work, highlighting 1-2 of the key tensions we have experienced and approaches we have employed to work through them. Roundtable participants represent the perspective of collaborative research teams, activist-scholars, practitioners, and researchers holding a range of social positionalities in relationship to the communities we work in. In this dialogic session, we will facilitate a conversation with attendees using the following questions to elaborate on the viewpoints presented by the panelists:

1.What are approaches that scholars have used to engage in critical DV research while maintaining meaningful relationships with community partners and attending to practice realities?

2.What successful strategies have been used to navigate critical feminist research including slow scholarship and collaborative approaches within (the constraints and structures of) academia?

3.What modalities of sharing research findings have permitted that gathered information may be accessed by multiple audiences for multiple purposes?

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