SAGE Journal Articles

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Clarke, A. E., & Montini, T. (1993). The many faces of RU486: Tales of situated knowledges and technological contestations. Science, Technology & Human Values, 18(1), 42–78.

Abstract: In the highly contentious abortion arena, the new oral abortifacient technology RU486 is one among many actors. This article offers an arena analysis of the heterogeneous constructions of RU486 by various actors, including scientists, pharmaceutical companies, medical groups, antiabortion groups, women’s health movement groups, and others who have produced situated knowledges. Conceptually, we find not only that the identity of the nonhuman actor-RU486 -is unstable and multiple but also that, in practice, there are other (previously invisible) implicated actors—the downstream users and consumers of the technology. If we try to follow all the actors, we find a fuller and more historicized arena, and, ironically, we too can be construed as implicated actors in it.


Fitzgerald, J. (2012). The messy politics of “clean coal”: The shaping of a contested term in Appalachia’s energy debate. Organization & Environment, 25(4), 437–451.

Abstract: Clean coal is a widely used and highly contested term in debates over energy policy and climate change in the United States. While the discourse of “clean coal” originated in industry and government circles, it has been debated, shaped, and contested by a wide range of players, including environmental and social justice groups. In this article, I examine how different local, regional, and national environmental and social justice groups participate in debating and defining these technologies and their implications for the energy future of the region.


Fosket, J. R. (2014, 2015). Situating knowledge. In A. E. Clarke & K. Charmaz (Eds.) Grounded theory and situational analysis (Vol. 4, pp. 91-109). London: SAGE.

Abstract: This candid, highly accessible “how-to” article discusses Fosket’s real-life experiences of using Situational Analysis, detailing problems encountered and how she addressed them. Fosket studied a large clinical trial comparing use of two different chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer prevention. She presents excellent situational, social worlds/arenas and positional maps, and maps tailored to presenting her project—project maps. Fosket offers superb research advice and encourages “thick analysis.” She is particularly eloquent about the agonies and ecstasies of analysis, getting stuck and unstuck, and how to keep track of your analytic progress when you feel more chaotic than systematic. An immensely solacing and reassuring read especially for newcomers to SA---or to qualitative inquiry.


Genat, B. (2009). Building emergent situated knowledges in participatory action research. Action Research, 7, 101–115.

Abstract: Participatory action research (PAR) draws theoretically on the concepts of symbolic interactionism, particularly with regard to the collaborative construction and production of meanings. This article describes how action research builds meaningful theory at the local level thereby enabling researchers, researcherparticipants and their local partners to foreground shared local understandings to critique more dominant discourses and policy positions regarding their circumstances. In so doing, this approach to PAR also draws on feminist understandings of standpoint epistemologies and situated knowledges and aligns itself with the politics of post-colonial theory and decolonizing methodologies.


Grzanka, P., & Mann, E. S. (2014). Queer youth suicide and the psychopolitics of “It Gets Better.” Sexualities, 17(4), 369–393.

Abstract: This article investigates a mass-mediated campaign against a perceived increase in suicides among gay (or presumed-to-be-gay) youth in the USA since September 2010. “It Gets Better” (IGB) became a rallying cry for “anti-bullying” activists, politicians, celebrities and ordinary people who created YouTube videos addressed to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth who might be considering suicide. A critical discourse analysis of a sample of IGB videos reveals a neoliberal frame that places the burden of a “better” life onto the emotional lives of LGBT youth, who are instructed to endure suffering in the interest of inevitable happiness. Drawing on Foucault and Orr's work on the construction and management of mental illness, we use the concept of “psychopower” to explore how these IGB videos render queer youth suicide both a psychological disorder and a sociological crisis for which the only viable solution is “homonormative” subjectivity.


Milwertz, C., & Fengxian, W. (2011). The relational and intra-active becoming of nongovernment-initiated organizing in the People’s Republic of China. Gender, Technology and Development, 15(3), 457–483.

Abstract: In this article, we propose a theoretical framework for understanding a type of organizing in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which is often defined as “non-governmental.” We are inspired by critical feminist writings on the production of knowledge. We draw on geographer Doreen Massey’s conceptualization of space, physicist Karen Barad’s theory of agential realism and notion of “intra-action,” and grounded theorist Adele Clarke’s understanding of context. Our analysis is based on the case of the Yunnan Reproductive Health Research Association, an organization approaching the issue of gender from the perspective of reproductive health. We contend that the organization is entangled with foreign development aid donor organizations and party-state institutions and that the three entities (the association, donor organizations, and party-state institutions) lack independent, self-contained existence in their joint involvement in performatively bringing the knowledge and practice of what we call nongovernment-initiated organizing into being. Our position is that, while donors and party-state, respectively, may have vested interests in claiming separation from nongovernmentinitiated organizations, academic analysis need not, and should not, uncritically replicate that particular representation of separation. Nongovernment-initiated organizing is local and “Chinese,” in the sense that it is territorially situated in the PRC. We argue that the “local” phenomenon of bottom-up organizing is not closed or self-constitutive. On the contrary, it is relational, and the relations involve the intra-active entanglement not only with the domestic party-state but also with foreign development aid donors.


Pérez, M. S., & Cannella, G. S. (2013). Situational analysis as an avenue for critical qualitative research: Mapping post-Katrina New Orleans. Qualitative Inquiry, 19(7), 1–13.

Abstract: Hypercapitalism in the United States and globally has created neoliberal conditions that have reinterpreted notions of the public good as an entrepreneurial endeavor. In this current context, critical qualitative methods such as situational analysis combined with theoretical perspectives like Black feminist thought can provide activist methodological tools to expose and reenvision privatized constructions of the common good. In this article, we describe possibilities for using critical situational analysis to examine a broad range of complex conditions and provide examples of situational mapping from a study focusing on disaster capitalism and the privatization of the public education system in post-Katrina New Orleans. We then offer possibilities for using situational analysis to create new imaginaries for critical qualitative inquiry.