Envisioning a politically activist critical social science: Reflections on reciprocal mentoring

Mark Nagasawa, Beth Blue Swadener

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter is a modest attempt to take up the challenging ques-tions: What are critical qualitative social science and politically activist scholarship, and how does one embody them? We do this by reflecting upon the centrality of mentoring relationships in promoting and supporting activist scholarship and scholarly activism. While it is generally acknowledged that the apprenticeship model of graduate education is an intergenerational transfer of theoretical knowledge, technical skills, and academic habitus, given resurgent “paradigm wars” and the practical or translational (neopostivist/neoliberal) turn in the academy, we lay out an achievable vision of activist scholarship that is already happening, if currently diffused and subdued by prevailing neoliberal and managerialist discourse in the academy. A key component of this vision rests upon the small spaces and reciprocity of mentor-mentee relationships and co-mentoring groups (Dodson, Montgomery & Brown, 2009), which can be crucibles for the diverse, politically activist critical qualitative social science that this volume explores. We argue that mentoring into scholarship is not about a simple, linear, and primarily one-way delivery of received knowledge and social practices but is instead about co-constitutive relationships: “Relation is reciprocity. Our students teach us, our works form us” (Buber, 1970, p. 67).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCritical Qualitative Inquiry
Subtitle of host publicationFoundations and Futures
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781315431161
ISBN (Print)9781629580111
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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