Session: Slow Scholarship for Social Work: A Praxis of Resistance and Creativity (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

207 Slow Scholarship for Social Work: A Praxis of Resistance and Creativity

Friday, January 22, 2021: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Cluster: Gender
Stephanie Wahab, PhD, Portland State University, Gita Mehrotra, PhD, Portland State University and Kelly Myers, MSW, Portland State University


Expediency, efficiency, and rapid production within compressed time frames represent markers for research and scholarship within the neoliberal academe. Scholars who wish to resist these practices of knowledge production have articulated the need for slow scholarship--a slower pace to make room for thinking, creativity and useful knowledge (Mountz, Bonds, Mansfield, Loyd, Hyndman, Walton-Roberts, Basu, Whitson, Hawkins, Hamilton, & Curran, 2015; Shahjahan, 2012; Ulmer, 2017 ). While these calls are important for drawing attention to the costs and problems of the neoliberal academy, many scholars have moved beyond “slow” as being uniquely referencing pace and duration, by calling for the different conceptualizations of time, space, and knowing.


Guided by anti-carceral and post-structural feminisms, and grounded in values of “do no harm,” and service to the practice community, we engaged in a research project that moved at the pace of trust in the integrity of our ideas and relationships (to each other and community stakeholders). Our study aimed to better understand the ways macro forces shape domestic violence work. Thus, our methodology, an instrumental case study (Baxter & Jack, 2008) with embedded units using multiple sources of data explored how the forces of neoliberalism, criminalization, and professionalization of DV work, braided together, shape DV advocacy training and socialization in the state of Oregon. This relational project, committed to ethics of care, emerged through intentional thinking and dialoguing with members inside and outside of our research team. A commitment to feminist ethics of care for both the process and product of our research set the stage for slow, feminist, scholarship, as we sought to balance our critical agenda and objectives, with community input in shaping, enacting, and disseminating the research. In a time of lean fiscal planning, and continued role-back of social safety nets, domestic violence advocates, while supportive of our research objectives, expressed concerns that research findings could be used against services and providers by those who wish to privatize social supports for survivors.


The presenters on this roundtable aim to showcase four specific markers of slow scholarship; time reimagined, a relational ontology, moving inside and towards complexity, and embodiment enacted through the case study research. We will discuss each of these markers, or practices of feminist slow scholarship alongside our study objectives, the ethical issues raised by community stakeholders, and our epistemological framework. Our objective for the roundtable is to both map possibilities for feminisms in social work, as well as for our social work colleagues. We will stimulate a critical dialogue with the audience about the ways feminist slow scholarship complicates how we understand constructs of productivity and knowledge production during this moment in time, as well as the ways slow scholarship offers a praxis of resistance for generating power from the epistemic margins within the neoliberal academy.





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