Expanding the Counterstory

The Potential for Critical Race Mixed Methods Studies in Education

Authored by: Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby , Dina C. Walker-DeVose

Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415899956
eBook ISBN: 9780203155721
Adobe ISBN: 9781136581410


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Critical race theory (CRT) allows for the challenging of systematic manifestations of White privilege that subordinate people of color (Bell, 1992). Specifically, CRT places race at the center of analysis and explores the transformations of the relationships among race, racism, and power in various social, economic, political, and educational contexts (Crenshaw et al., 1995). A strength of CRT is that it allows for the capturing of counterstories or the narratives of marginalized groups that counter the perspectives of the majoritarian (Delgado, 1989). Because of CRT’s focus on the in-depth understanding of stories, studies using a CRT lens often utilize qualitative methods (Parker, 1998; Parker & Lynn, 2002). However, in recent years, scholars have begun to contemplate whether or not CRT and quantitative methods are compatible. One perspective is that the positivistic/post-positivistic approach that is associated with quantitative methods is incompatible with the critical approach of race-based theories such as CRT; in addition, it does not allow for the telling of individual and multiple stories (Zuberi, 2003). The alternative perspective feels that critical quantitative approaches allow for the telling of “group” or “composite” counterstories, although through the use of numbers, and are therefore compatible with CRT (Carter & Hurtado, 2007).

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