Critical Issues for Qualitative Research
Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, eds., The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, 5th ed., Sage Publishing 2017.
Posted: 12 May 2017 Last revised: 8 May 2018
Date Written: March 10, 2017
Academic qualitative research requires current social commitment of resources. Such commitment is waning. Qualitative research traditionally has been underwritten by a liberal understanding of the importance of culture, in turn dependent on an imaginary of the nation as the heart of social life. Politically, the sovereign nation state cannot organize "culture" in an integrated Europe or a global "City of Gold." Socioeconomically, academic accreditation is the site of competition for employment, and therefore tends to be utilitarian. Institutionally, the University is structured around the figure of the bureaucratic administrator rather than the scholar. Qualitative research is likely to survive, albeit marginally, for reasons including inertia institutional prestige, and concerns for diversity and identity. In theory, however, qualitative research could animate a new understanding of the University as a site for critically addressing the global contemporary.
Keywords: university, qualitative research, anthropology, ethnography, sociology, liberal arts, culture, intellectual history, academic life, globalization, diversity, education, administration, bureaucracy, liberalism, liberal education
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