The theme of the 2018 Congress is ‘Qualitative Enquiry in Troubled Times’. These are troubled times. The global right is on the rise, north, south, east, west. It is setting the agenda for public discourse on the social good. In so doing it is narrowing the spaces for civic discourse. A reign of fear is on the rise. Repression is in the air: Brexit, the Trump presidency, global protest. Dissent is silenced. The world is at war with itself. The moral and ethical foundations of democracy are under assault. The politics may be local, but the power is global, the fear is visceral. We are global citizens trapped in a world we did not create, nor want any part of.
Public unions, education and civic, participatory social science are in jeopardy. Academics and pacifists critical of the public order risk being as branded traitors. Critical qualitative, interpretive research risk being stifled by federal administrators who define what constitutes acceptable science. Right-wing politicians silence criticism while implementing a ‘resurgent racism… [involving] punitive attacks on the intellectuals, the poor, urban youth, and people of colour (Giroux, Henry. 2016. ‘Donald Trump and the Plague of Atomisation in a Neoliberal Age‘ Truthout. 8 August).
There has never been a greater need for a critical qualitative enquiry that matters, a discourse that pushes back. A discourse committed to a politics of resistance, a politics of possibility, a politics that dares to dream of social justice, to dream of equity, peace and a world without violence.
This is the calling of the 2018 Congress: can we collectively live our way through these troubled times, and push through into newly imagined utopian spaces? Can we train a new generation of engaged scholars and community leaders who will lead us into these uncharted territories?
The 2018 Congress offers scholars the opportunity to foreground, interrogate, imagine, and engage new ways of doing critical qualitative enquiry in these troubling times. Sessions will take up such topics as: redefinitions of the public university, neoliberal accountability metrics, attacks on freedom of speech, threats to shared governance, the politics of advocacy, value-free enquiry, partisanship, the politics of evidence, public policy discourse, indigenous research ethics, and decolonising enquiry.
Scholars come to the Congress to resist, to celebrate community, to experiment with traditional and new methodologies, with new technologies of representation. Together we seek to develop guidelines and exemplars concerning advocacy, enquiry, and social justice concerns. We share a commitment to change the world, to engage in ethical work what makes a positive difference. As critical scholars our task is to bring the past and the future into the present, allowing us to engage realistic utopian pedagogies of hope.
Scholars from around the world have accepted the challenge to gather together in common purpose to collectively imagine creative and critical responses to a global community in crisis. The 14th International Congress offers us an opportunity to experiment, take risks, explore new presentational forms, share experiences, problems and hopes concerning the conduct of critical qualitative enquiry in this time of global uncertainty.
To view keynote speakers, call for papers and details of registration, click here.