Queer Methods and Methodologies: Intersecting Queer Theories and Social Science Research

Article excerpt


Kath Browne & Catherine J. Nash, QUEER METHODS AND METHODOLOGIES: INTERSECTING QUEER THEORIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2010. 320p. bibl. index. $119.95, ISBN 978-0754678434; e-book (contact publisher for pricing), ISBN 978-0754696636.

Editors Kath Browne and Catherine Nash originally envisioned a work that would examine whether or not a queer conceptual framework can be used in traditional social science methodologies. They as well as the other contributors to this volume interpret "queer," in its broadest sense, to mean non-normative frameworks, rather than merely LGBT/sexuality-focused research. Initially they hoped to examine how research methods can be complicated when the focus is on non-normative communities and epistemological frameworks. In the resulting edited collection, however, well-known and emerging social science researchers examine either their misgivings about the social-science methodological approach itself--and its assumption of an objective, knowing, distant researcher--or critique ways in which the academy has promoted certain forms of research as integral while considering alternative and queer approaches to be methodologically problematic.

This essay collection is a good companion to the feminist research methods texts that are currently available, particularly Hesse-Biber and Leavy's Feminist Research Practice (FRP). (1) While FRP takes the approach that methods themselves are not feminist but are used by feminists, many of the contributors to Queer Methods and Methodologies question that view, suggesting that the methods themselves--as well as how they are used--make a methodological approach feminist/ queer or not.

Sadly, the power of institutional review boards (IRBs) and their influence on what is considered acceptable research is only briefly mentioned here; for instance, Mathias Detamore notes that IRBs curtail "the nature of the relationships that researchers engage in with their participants' (p. …