Research as Resistance: Critical, Indigenous, and Anti-oppressive Approaches
Since its inception, social work has been plagued with its dual claims to legitimacy as a discipline and a profession. In seeking to promote its knowledge claims, social work research has increasingly relied heavily on positivism, where objectivity is defined as ‘. . . detached, unbiased, impersonal, and invested in no particular point of view’ (Lloyd, 1995: 352). Yet, as a helping profession, social work is dedicated to the causes of social justice, and thus, by definition, it is a profession (and a discipline) that is not value-free. Indeed as an applied social science, social work research is about social change that reflects social and economic justice. It is against this backdrop that Leslie Brown and Susan Strega’s edited book, nicely entitled Research as Resistance, provides us with a timely challenge of recognizing the role that research plays in legitimizing knowledge claims and the socio-political realities facing social work practitioners and researchers in advancing the causes of social justice. Their collection of works targets a wide audience,from undergraduate students to experienced researchers. Contributors, comprising researchers and practitioners who adopt critical, Indigenous, and anti-oppressive approaches in their theoretical stance, aim to provoke discussion and ‘explore the emancipatory possibilities’ of their research and scholarship (p. 1). In their introduction, Brown and Strega explain that the book provides readers with an understanding of the methodological,epistemological,and ontological assumptions of critical, Indigenous, and anti-oppressive approaches to research. A common theme that binds these approaches (and the different chapters in this book) is the contributor’s appreciation of the value-laden nature of knowledge creation and knowledge claims. Each author questions the neutrality of the positivist researcher, and argues that an unexamined approach.