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Antiracist Interventive Interviewing: Subverting Colonial Interventions with Public Sector Workers

Willow Samara Allen, Nisha Nath, Trista Georges

2023 Canada

What does it mean to intervene in antiracist interviews with public sector workers? What do interventions look like in research seeking to name complicity in settler colonial violence and imagine otherwise relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people? How might we methodologically define interventions and their pedagogical purpose(s)? In this paper, we share our experience of adopting a dual-pedagogical antiracist interventive research methodology in our qualitative research with public sector workers on settler colonial socialization. Building on antiracist interventive interviewing method, we map out our conceptualization of interventions as multidirectional and multiscalar. We narrate how we see interventions as dual pedagogical moments of disruption and possibility occurring at three scales, where we intervene to support our participants’ learning and they intervene to support ours. Our approach is illuminated through illustrations from our transcribed data of virtual interviews with 32 public sector workers in BC (n = 23) and Alberta (n = 9), and through our reflections on our research process. Our analysis demonstrates that interventions have three key effects. First, they are generatively disruptive in that they offer better access to understanding processes of settler colonial socialization. Second, interventions create junctures for antiracist and anticolonial learning. Third, interventions with participants open up opportunities to imagine otherwise beyond the strictures of settler colonialism, and orient towards anticolonial praxis rooted in recognition of Indigenous sovereignties. We conclude with a vocabulary of interventions meant to offer other qualitative researchers possibilities for how to intervene to better access and disrupt sites of deep colonizing.

antiracism and anticolonial research, settler colonialism, public sector, qualitative interviewing, settler colonial socialization, discretion