From academic to political rigour: Insights from the ‘Tarot’ of transgressive research

Leah Temper*, Dylan McGarry, Lena Weber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Other contribution

28 Citations (Scopus)


The role of science and knowledge production is at a crossroads, as societal transformation calls for challenging dominant forms of knowledge production that have contributed to marginalizing other ways of knowing. This presents a challenge to mainstream science and invites a deeper reflection on our roles as scientists and exploration of alternative engaged, post-normal and activist approaches to research. This paper examines the diverse ways researchers are meeting this challenge. Employing the device of the Tarot deck we describe seven “characters” to illustrate the variety of roles and approaches that trans-disciplinary, transformative, transgressive and activist researchers are engaging in. These characters are used to introduce and develop the concept of political rigour as a means of expanded academic rigour in new emancipatory scientific paradigms. We demonstrate how these Tarot characters can be used as an activity for collective and personal reflexivity and propose ten principles that frequently emerge in a ‘political’ peer review process. We argue that the insights emerging from these strands of radical, critical, engaged and applied forms of scholarship, can significantly improve the understanding of what a “transformative knowledge paradigm” may look like in practice and how it can be mobilized for social change and environmental justice.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Publication series

NameEcological Economics
ISSN (Print)0921-8009


  • Arts-based approaches
  • Environmental justice
  • Feminism
  • Post-normal science
  • Scholar activism
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Transformation
  • Transgressive research


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