How to be Secretly Lacanian in Qualitative Research

If I had more time I’d write a report about most Qualitative Research Methodologies as inherently “obsessional,” that is, as a discourse of obsessional neurosis (i.e., what Lacan names “university discourse”). One of the biggest problems with Qualitative Research Methodologies in the social sciences today is that they are focused increasingly on iterative, recursive, and largely inductive research processes that leave the researcher endlessly repeating and rewriting their research design until it “coheres.” The idea is to identify gaps (e.g., “lack,” objet a) and to keep filling them in over and over again. Knowledge (S2) here engages with the gap (a) to produce the alienated researcher ($) without realizing the truth: this serves discourses of mastery (S1). Qualitative Research is the discourse of the university par excellence!

I’m only familiar with one major intervention into Qualitative Research that attempts to push it out of University Discourse (but also out of the Hysteric’s Discourse, which is exemplary of participant action projects where the split subject engages or sets itself up against mastery, S1) and that is Christian Dunker‘s and Ian Parker‘s remarkable “How to be Secretly Lacanian in Anti-Psychoanalytic Qualitative Research.” A limitation of that article is that it is uniquely situated within the context of Psychological Qualitative Research rather than Social Science Qualitative Research more generally.

Find their article here:


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