Hysterical inquiry and autoethnography

A Lacanian alternative to institutionalized ethical commandments

Andrew Dickson, Kate HOLLAND

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article questions the ethical commandments issued by research ethics committees, particularly in relation to autoethnography, and points towards an alternative based on an examination and application of the psychoanalytic ethics of hysterical inquiry. The authors demonstrate the ethics of hysterical inquiry in operation in qualitative research via a discussion of an autoethnography by Elizabeth Dauphinee and contrast this with a paper ‘on’ autoethnography by Martin Tolich. They argue that these two very different offerings can be positioned respectively as from Lacan’s hysteric’s discourse and the university’s discourse. Finally the authors conclude that hysterical inquiry with its focus on desire can provide a way forward for radical qualitative research, a way out of the binds of institutionalized ethical commandments that threaten the radical potential of qualitative research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133– 148
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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