Fieldwork stories: negotiating positionality, power and purpose

L. Bourke, Jessica Paula Rose Thorn, N. Chisonga, J. Clarke, F. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fieldwork in the social sciences is, by its nature, a messy and complicatedprocess. Human relationships established between researcher and participantsmust be forged and maintained across social boundaries. Notions ofdifference, perceived through our bodies as they interact with other bodies,can often complicate these experiences in the ‘field’. Because of this, it isimportant that we remain aware of the effects our own positionalities canhave on our research, as demonstrated in the experiences described in thisarticle. Coming to terms with our own privileged identities, be it class, race,gender, nationality or educational background, in peripheral contexts, hasdemanded a degree of introspection from each of us. Many of us have oftenquestioned our own legitimacy in the field and find ourselves wonderingwhat right we have to enter communities and write about lived realities thatwe ourselves often do not experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Africa
Issue number95-105
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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