Living liminal: Reflexive epistemological positioning at the intersection of marginalized identities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, I trace the origins of my epistemological stance as a biracial woman with multiple marginalized identities that caused me to span categorical boundaries in life. My perspective has become one in which I am positioned in an ambivalent, hybrid, liminal space. I respond to the epistemological positions taken by other doctoral students and consider our common struggles with situating ourselves among established theories that do not easily accommodate the complexity and ambiguity of our lived experiences. I describe my attempts to locate myself within existing epistemological approaches that are compatible with my own perspective and my research questions about racial disparities in young adult mental health. I conclude by adopting a healthy skepticism of existing theories of knowledge and by looking forward to asking and answering questions with my own research that will help social workers to work more effectively with diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-726
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Biracial
  • doctoral student
  • liminality
  • qualitative inquiry
  • reflexive epistemology
  • social work practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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