Rogers, D. Research, practice, and the space between: Care of the self within neoliberalized institutions, Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies, Volume 12, Issue 3, June 2012, Pages 242-254
This article challenges the neoliberal discourse of “instrumental rationality” that is encroaching on theories of qualitative research, critical reflection, and subjectivity. I return to Foucault’s historical ontology of the self and the ancient Athenian precept care of the self to show that critical reflection and rationality have never been mutually exclusive. I put the care of the self metaphor to empirical use by examining the practical and ethical issues that emerged when I transitioned from a state-sponsored frontline employee working with public housing tenants, to a university researcher investigating public housing tenant participation in a state-sponsored urban redevelopment project. The focus is on my experiences as a practitioner-researcher working within two neoliberalized institutions, while also constructing a performative research ethic to mount a challenge against the politics of neoliberal “evidence” in the space between.
action research; care of the self; critical reflection; Foucault; neoliberal; reflexivity