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“A funny thing happened on the way to the hypogeum”: An account of crisis and congruity in the arena of indigenous mental health

Darren Garvey (School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 3 August 2012



The purpose of this paper is to provide an account of the author's negotiation of a methodological and personal crisis that emerged in the course of his PhD research. It provides a description of the research project and how, in its implementation, questions emerged for the author regarding the likely “indigenous credibility” of the work, and the repercussions of this for him as an indigenous researcher.


The author provides a narrative account of the events and responses, identifying critical issues, courses of action and subsequent outcomes. Opportunity is also provided for the reader to consider their own response to the issues identified.


The author discovered that the initial misgivings regarding the research project were misguided following a broader reading of the literature regarding Indigenous Standpoint Theory and Causal Layered Analysis. Indeed, as well as allaying the initial anxieties, a number of aspirational congruities between the approaches became evident which, in the opinion of the author, will lead to a differently rendered layering of the arena of indigenous mental health. The author also discovered that a source of his initial misgivings were related to his own essentialised constructions of what constitutes credible indigenous research.

Research limitations/implications

The paper has implications for those indigenous researchers who may be grappling with methodological issues related to their research, particularly those considerations regarding Indigenous Standpoint and other nominally indigenous theories/methodologies.


The paper presents a novel attempt to compare and contrast methodologies specifically identified as indigenous, with those that could be utilised as complementary to them. Such attempts at collaboration serve to challenge essentialised expectations about what can constitute meaningful research by, and for indigenous Australian people.



Garvey, D. (2012), "“A funny thing happened on the way to the hypogeum”: An account of crisis and congruity in the arena of indigenous mental health", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 155-164.



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