In this article I invoke the productive potential of critical irritation to disrupt and intervene within contemporary discourses regarding educational research. Utilizing George Canguilhem's (1991) theorization of the normal and the pathological, I interrogate the discursive positioning of educational inquiry on two levels: the national context as seen in President Obama's 2009 address to the National Academy of the Sciences and the more local context as represented by language invoked by students in my qualitative inquiry classes. I end by suggesting that critical qualitative inquiry must necessarily run the risk of becoming pathological.
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