“So, it is about how negative it is?!”: Understanding researcher/researched interactions as relations between intersectional social positions

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The article argues that interactions in qualitative interviews and ethnography can be analyzed as relations between intersectional social positions. It draws attention to the importance of class and geographical location in such analysis. It further argues that such interactions work through typifications, that they have a power dimension and that they entail processes of identity formation. The identities being offered through these processes can, however, be negotiated or resisted. The article then analyses such interactions as they were experienced in two research projects the author participated in: His PhD project about young
marginalized ethnic minority men, and the collective project INTERLOC which focused on the interplay between gender, class, ethnicity and ‘race’ in an underprivileged Danish suburb. It is demonstrated that relationality influences the assumptions research participants have about the researcher. It is also demonstrated that the research encounter entails powerful mechanism of
identity formation. The informants, however, sometimes resist these processes resulting in blurred and unstable, sometimes antagonistic, power relations. It is finally argued that analyses of such interactions can provide central insight into the subject studied.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2012

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