Creating a (More) Reflexive Canadian Disability Studies: Our Team’s Account

  • Valorie A. Crooks Simon Fraser University
  • Michelle Owen University of Winnipeg
  • Sharon-Dale Stone Lakehead University
Keywords: reflexivity, collaboration, positionality, qualitative research, disability, Canada

Abstract

This article reviews a reflexive process undertaken by an interdisciplinary team of researchers working on a study about chronic illness in the academic workplace funded by a Canadian granting agency. The authors discuss the concept of reflexivity, offer reasons for why reflexivity is especially important for research teams working in disability studies, and broadly call on Canadian disability scholars to be reflexive. They contend that the personal is indeed political and that this needs to be fleshed out. Given that there is much silence surrounding the practice of reflexivity by disability studies scholars, the authors identify and discuss four challenges to putting the call for a reflexive Canadian disability studies into practice: both personal and structural. The discussion of challenges is speculative, yet grounded in the authors’ personal experience of reflexive engagement and knowledge of the discipline of disability studies. It is hoped that this speculation can be overcome by fact in the coming years as Canadian disability scholars increasingly opt to incorporate reflexive processes into their research practices and make them transparent by finding ‘space’ to tell others about them.

Author Biographies

Valorie A. Crooks, Simon Fraser University

Valorie Crooks is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University.  Trained as a health geographer, she has an established interest in research focused on the lived experience of chronic illness, with a particular emphasis on socio-spatial considerations.

Michelle Owen, University of Winnipeg

Michelle Owen is an Associate Professor at the University of Winnipeg, Acting Coordinator of the Disability Studies Program, and Director of the Health and Human Potential Institute of the Global College. Her scholarly work is located at the intersections of disability, chronic illness, gender, and sexuality.

Sharon-Dale Stone, Lakehead University

Sharon-Dale Stone is Professor of Sociology at Lakehead University. Her teaching and research are focused on critical disability studies and social gerontology.

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