chapter  24
A Conversation about the Past, Present, and Future of Qualitative Inquiry
Pages 24

Just as importantly, in my view, is that critical and interpretive paradigms could finally challenge and coexist with the logical-positivist paradigm dominating qualitative inquiry since its formal beginnings in anthropology, ethnology, sociology, and other “human studies” (Dilthey, 1883/1989). Critical and interpretive paradigms continue to be pushed to the margins, perhaps even more so since the 9/11 attacks and the nefarious suspension of human and civil rights, in the guise of patriotism and security, that followed. Critique of American society, power, inequalities, and domestic and international policies tends to come from critical and interpretive paradigms in qualitative inquiry. We all know that power doesn’t like resistance, so critical and interpretive paradigms in qualitative inquiry have increasingly become a target of retaliation and persecution. Voices of dissention are defamed, slandered, fired, un-hired, vilified, smeared. The bodies pile up: University of Colorado Boulder’s Ward Churchill, DePaul University Chicago’s Norman Finkelstein, and now Steven Salaita and his case against the University of Illinois, to mention some of the targets of the most egregious persecution against critical scholarship of the last decade. To be sure, ICQI is but one site of communion and resistance against the contemporary face of colonization. But it is a central one for those engaged in critical and interpretive qualitative inquiry. It has become a site for solidarity and hope that qualitative inquiry can help us imagine and co-construct a world with more justice and dignity for more people, even as neoliberal forces continue to erode academic freedom and critical inquiry. At a practical level, ICQI has also served to keep geographically and disciplinarily isolated qualitative researchers connected through the year-round work of Special Interest Groups (SIGs), guest-edited

special issues in the congress journal, and the collaborations that get re-made and renewed at every gathering. Directly and indirectly, qualitative inquiry publications, workshops, and classes all over the world have benefited from ten years of ICQI. Even though contested in many cases, tenure and promotion to gate-keeping institutional positions have been granted in large part because of the bridges, connections, and legitimation ten years of ICQI have brought about.