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On the methodological and epistemological power of epistemic (de)centering as a reflexive praxis of resistance toward disability justice

Phillip Andrew Boda (Department of Special Education, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 20 September 2022

Issue publication date: 4 January 2023




Leveraging autoethnography and conceptual syntheses, the author stake the claim that supporting people to empower themselves in the naming and description of their lived realities beyond assumed incompleteness constitutes a resistant form of critical praxis the author name as epistemic (de)centering. Through these engagements of varying proximity with the other, meaning those Lives-Hopes-Dreams often outside researchers' personal and professional standpoints, the author aims to argue that critical, reflexive praxes where historically marginalized people, including those living/surviving/thriving with impairments-disabilities, can be afforded place, space, time and respect to visibilize their experiences.


In this paper, the author dreams of radical possibilities afforded by epistemic disobedience to value those Body-Mind-Spirits often elided among social justice work. Interrogating nuances among pieces in a recently published special issue named as “Disability Justice,” the author rearticulates a reality of possibility where the rhetoric that sustains invisibilizations of disabled people via racial-capitalist-ableist-coloniality is disrupted to explicitly position these identities as valuable to inform how to transform society in more just ways.


Analyses from this work further conversations on disabled subjectivities, post-oppositional logics of centers-margins, and resistant knowledge projects to illuminate how to approach the questions of who gets to decide when justice is achieved, and how abled Body-Mind-Spirits can meet their commitments to justice, especially among those that work in social justice circles.


Infusing across this work the voices of multiply marginalized, and disabled, folks provides a cognitive-systemic architecture where research moves from “what if” as abstraction to engage with “how to” center disability justice in education (DJE). In doing so, this research pushes our approaches to social justice praxis, in education and beyond, to think about our individual and collective proximities to self and other, and more specifically disabled Lives-Hopes-Dreams.



Boda, P.A. (2023), "On the methodological and epistemological power of epistemic (de)centering as a reflexive praxis of resistance toward disability justice", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 114-129.



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