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Reassessing the research relationship: location, position and power in fieldwork accounts

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position and power in fieldwork accounts

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In this article we problematize the dualistic and binary model of researcher/researched interaction in the feminist methodological literature, which suggests that manipulation and exploitation only take place by the researcher. We contest assumptions that research participants occupy only one axis of identity, namely, ‘oppressed victimhood’. Through our position as non-white/non-western and nonwhite/ western researchers in a non-western research setting, we were able to closely examine the operation of power as it flows and ebbs in the context of a multiplicity of potential identities of both researchers and research participants. Identities were continuously negotiated on issues of national location, age, generation and reciprocity. While we are aware of our power in the ‘final product’, we have explored the different ways in which research participants can also exercise power in the production of the ‘product’. However, our intention is not to place the latter into another rigid category of ‘oppressors’ but to provide a framework for analysis of qualitative research results. By demonstrating that power resides with the research participants, we also seek to challenge the tendency within white western feminism to construct ‘third world’ women as passive recipients.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/31476/

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