Contingent Resistances Methodology: Analyzing Resistance in Parents' and Daughters' Choice of an All-Girl Middle School

Nancy J. Bell, Kimberly Corson, Emilia Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Contemporary perspectives on dominance and resistance as multifaceted and dialogical call for a similarly dialogical methodology, as reflected in Saukko's concept of contingent resistances. Compared to much of the past resistance research, contingent resistances sets forth an expanded vision of dialogicality in research design and in the interpretation of actor's meanings. Our purpose is to illustrate three implications of this methodology: (i) polyvocality-a comparison of perspectives of two groups of actors; (ii) consideration of the full range of meanings relevant to the action with particular attention to reactions from the local context; and (iii) interpretations of resistance that are firmly grounded in narrators' meanings. The analysis is based on interviews with parents and their young adolescent daughters about their decision to attend a new all-girl college-preparatory public school located in southwestern USA. Expanding on past studies of girls' school choice, we show how parents and daughters create different meanings of this decision, largely based on interactions with their peers. Although both parents and daughters emphasized academic opportunity as their main reason for the school choice, daughters, unlike parents, were confronted with violating peer femininity/heteronormativity norms. Thus, the decision required resistance on the part of daughters in a way that it did not for parents. We view contingent resistances as a useful methodological framework in a range of areas where questions of resistance are at stake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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