Sunday, January 15, 2023: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Desert Sky, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Soo Young Lee, MA, University of Chicago
Sheila Shankar, University of Chicago and Soo Young Lee, MA, University of Chicago
As a field, social work aims to center human dignity and worth while challenging social injustice. As such, scholars argue that in order to align with the social justice goals of the profession, social work research must challenge the dominant modes and methods of knowing in traditional social science research. The rise of arts-based research over the past 30 years has led to a paradigmatic shift in the academy, bridging the divide between research and creative practice towards an integrative praxis. Critical arts-based research incorporates the use of creative arts as a form of research inquiry and mode of knowledge production. Following the work of feminist standpoint and critical race theorists, we define critical as being attuned to and interrogating the relationship between power and knowledge to center the experiences of those most marginalized by structures of power. Social work scholars have been at the vanguard of using critical creative methodologies such as visual, performance, and narrative arts to promote a socially just research agenda. Despite the proliferation of critical arts-based research, social work doctoral education largely continues to train students in traditional social science approaches rooted in what Zuberi & Bonilla-Silva (2008) refer to as White logic and White methods. As doctoral students and women of color, we resist White logic posing rigid standards on research (e.g., what is rigorous/objective) grounded in White supremacy. White logic sees ways of knowing and expressing from minoritized people of color as perpetually 'too subjective,' and consistently uses a White normative baseline against which marginalized others are compared. In this way, the privileging of White logic and methods in social work research and doctoral education constitutes a form of epistemic injustice, "a wrong done to someone specifically in their capacity as a knower"(Fricker, 2007). We see the use of critical arts-based methods as a form of epistemic resistance, challenging "normative expectations of established interpretive frameworks and aiding dissonant voices in the formation of alternative meanings, interpretations, and expressive styles"(Medina, 2012). Critical art-based methods challenge the idea that the researcher can be distanced from the social worlds they study; they center counterstories from the margins and embrace multisensorial, embodied, and affective ways of knowing. In this experiential and collaborative methods workshop for doctoral students, we will engage digital collaging methods to explore the question: What does epistemic resistance look like in social work research? Collaging as a method has been used by interdisciplinary researchers to incorporate texts, visuals, and materials into a single form--making meaning of a particular idea or question through this collection and synthesizing process. In this session, we plan to provide a theoretical overview of epistemic injustice in social work research and the use of critical arts-based methods as a form of epistemic resistance for doctoral students. Then we will guide participants through the collaging method. We will conclude with a group discussion and reflection on engaging critical creativity to disrupt and expand ways of knowing in social work research.
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