Insider, Outsider or Cultures in-between

Ethical and methodological considerations in intercultural arts research

Authored by: Ylva Hofvander Trulsson , Pamela Burnard

The Routledge International Handbook of Intercultural Arts Research

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138909939
eBook ISBN: 9781315693699
Adobe ISBN: 9781317437260


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In qualitative research, the ‘researcher is the instrument’. Therefore, the task of explicitly putting reflexivity to work and identifying oneself is important. In order to clarify your researcher identity and stance vis-à-vis participants, you must, as Gray (2008, p. 936) notes, ‘address questions of the researcher’s biographical relationship to the topic’, such as gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, as well as acknowledging the levels of privilege and power conferred by personal history. In the field of intercultural research we, as researchers, meet with individuals and families, communities and organizations, who might have directly experienced the trauma of torture and devastations of war or challenges like migration, alienation and political or religious persecution – individuals who, because of these experiences, have been damaged and stigmatized. Racism and stigmatization can appear in relation to ethnic background, disability, social status, etc. and often turns up in contexts where there is a limitary attitude against individuals who challenge norms. These norms or expectations can create, in turn, an immobile position for the marked individual. When we are entering these intercultural research fields we must also challenge our self-understanding and how we interpret the degree of privilege our position carries. The interpersonal meeting can both question and confirm our conceptions of ourselves. In qualitative research, when investigating dimensions of interpersonal dialogue, it becomes important to narrow the focus on perspectives of identities and abilities.

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