Primordial Paradigm: A Queer Methodological Treatise

Year: 2019

Author: Arnberg, Benjamin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

I articulate a Queer Methodology of Risk, based on my work with queer students engaging in “risky” behavior on a rural campus in the American South.A Queer Methodology of Risk (QMoR) corrects a history of diagnostic inquiry on “at risk otherness” of queer students. I interrogate the onto-epistemological contention that queer students need fixing under the paternalistic eye of a student affairs bureaucracy. My methodology exposes the insidious character of technologically-driven inquiry, big data, and the call for evidence-based (reliable) praxis applied to queer lives in college, as if queerness were a monolithic condition.Contemporary research mimics what Freire (2018) calls a “banking” model of teaching. I expand the metaphor: researchers take are Wealth Managers who extract data from queers, apply their analytic “expertise,” and create sanitized reports. Examples include studies on queer suicide, queer substance abuse, queer susceptibility to violence, queer gender transformation (still labeled “dysphoria”), and queer sex subcultures. Just as Wealth Managers take funds from a financially inexpert consumer and invest on their behalf, researchers perpetuate queer disenfranchisement by positioning themselves as advisers on how to assimilate in a heteropatriarchal world.My work counters the contemporary advent of constructivism and post-humanism in qualitative inquiry, queer theories of absurdity, futurity, and fabulation.

My initial modeling of a Queer Methodology of Risk (QMoR) yields the following tenets:

1. Treat risky subjects not as “unfortunates” to fix but rather as subjects “being for themselves” (Freire, p. 61). Embraces narratives of risk in order to render said narratives less exotic and pathologized.
2. Eliminate concept-driven (Schulte, 2018), “necrophilous” (Freire, p. 76-77) approaches to inquiry in which the goal is a mechanical rendering of humanity where one may develop certain rigid processes for subject/population improvement.
3. Undergo a conversion to queerness or “rebirth” (Freire, p. 61) into a condition of solidarity with queerness so that resulting “research” is collaborative work forged together.
4. Provide a space in which queer people may berather than be scrutinized, exploited,or objectified for paternalistic onto-epistemological means. Research should crystallize (Richardson, 1997; Richardson & St. Pierre, 2005; St. Pierre, 2017) queer narrative and point us to systemic problems that breed disenfranchisement, and subsequently risk.