Introducing Doing Rebellious Research

Burnard, P., Mackinlay, E., Rousell, D., & Dragovic, T. (Eds.) (2022). Doing rebellious research in and beyond the academy. Brill.

When you open this book, you are immediately invited to remember the moment when you did something truly and utterly rebellious: something so unruly, undutiful, and ungovernable that, once you had begun, there was no turning back. From there, you are encouraged to reflect on your ‘writing, life’ and ‘fly the coop’ in Cixousian style. ‘Take pleasure in jumbling the order,’ this book entices – change the furniture, dislocate and disorient things and values, break them all up and down, empty structures, and feel, dream, perform the gestures that jam the system. It is to this moment of rebellion we wilfully embrace, embody, and allure in this collection of unique chapters.

We like the word ‘rebel’ and use it deliberately everywhere in this book to invoke its etymological origins: re-bel, adj. re – ‘against, in opposition to, or again’ and bel – to be ‘obstinate, stubborn,’ ‘revolt’ or ‘wage war’; and rebel, n. ‘a person who makes war for political motives.’ For us, rebellious researchers and writing rebels are those who battle against normative standards of academic research and writing practices. We are not the first to make such moves towards rebellion; this academic writing rebellion is rooted in previous rebellions that enable us to travel this route from there and then to here and now.

The book begins with five refrains, is framed in four parts and features 24 chapters, many of which are co-authored written performances by rebellious writers who invite incitements to rebellious research and writing. The intention from beginning to end was to perform the work of writing this research differently, and, over the course of a year, the contributors shared their praxis from around the globe on Zoom and workshopped ways to keep pushing our praxis forward in the spirit of rebellious research and writing.

Haha! Here we go now!

During COVID research in and beyond here,

Returning to transdisciplinary roots/routes.

Re-think the chink, re-configure, figure.

Has the rebellion arrived yet?

We choose otherwise and plant the seeds of rebellion.

We are bringing it – we are, we see, and we gift.

This research, the practice, the writing and the academy/university.

Know, resist, and re-imagine it?

Why might you dare to?

We think and wonder with

Post this, that and t’other

Forever on the way; rebellion.

In Part 1, rebellious transdisciplinarity is researched differently; Part 2 features rebellious writings written differently; Part 3 performs rebellious theories and research methodologies differently; and, in Part 4, rebellious leaders/ship lead research and writing differently. We invite readers to approach reading this work differently. Each part includes a guide and a set of reflective questions, which we hope will make it possible for others to word the world in rebellion, in a way that matters.

Our hope for this book is that readers will feel connected to the rebellion we have begun – and join us. If you are in doubt, we invite you to welcome the principle of uncertainty as rebellious because it, too, in the folds of its dark unknowns, is also a location of possibility.

As authors, in this book, we are writing openly, vulnerably, and critically about our own conditions and contexts; the ones that matter, the ones that have come to matter most, and those that must matter if what we write about the world is to matter at all. In daring to fly, we have watched each other spread our writing wings – poised on the precipice about to leap into the abyss, beautiful and terrifying in composition, composure and compassion – and have found ourselves learning, living, loving and becoming enlightened by new ways to word the world.

Let yourself be reminded of who and what we are in rebellious academic research and writing communion. Let yourself be reminded that in the wording and worldings contained within this book, we have gathered our shared potential as a collective force ‘becoming-with’ and taking new ‘lines of flight.’

Let yourself wilfully reach your arm, armed and in arms, to stand against those forces – call them what you will, neoliberal and capitalist, colonial and imperial, white and patriarchal – that seek to constrain, contain and cancel us out.

Let yourself be inspired, as we are, to new ways of seeing yourself, new ways of encountering new research and writing that perform radical departures from the academy.

This is our provocation to you: fly, imagine, give, become.

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