Holding Firm: Power, Push-Back, and Opportunities in Navigating the Liminal Space of Critical Qualitative Health Research

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Abstract

Critical qualitative health researchers typically occupy and navigate liminal academic spaces and statuses, with one foot planted in the arts and social sciences and the other in biomedical science. We are at once marginalized and empowered, and this liminality presents both challenges and opportunities. In this article, we draw on our experiences of being (often the lone) critical qualitative health scholars on thesis advisory committees and dissertation examinations, as well as our experiences of publishing and securing funding, to illuminate how power and knowledge relations create conditions that shape the nature of our roles. We share strategies we have developed for standing our theoretical and methodological ground. We discuss how we use the power of our liminality to hold firm, push back, and push forward, to ensure that critical qualitative research is not further relegated to the margins and its quality and integrity sustained.

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