Item Details

Embodying the Field: A researcher’s reflections on power dynamics, positionality and the nature of research relationships

Issue: Vol 8 No. 1 (2013)

Journal: Fieldwork in Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/firn.v8i1.27


This article focuses on the various ways in which research relationships evolve and are negotiated by paying particular attention to the embodied nature of ethnographic research. By drawing on my own research experience of interviewing South African Muslim women about sexual dynamics, I critically engage debates concerning power dynamics in research relationships as well as researcher positionality. I argue that researchers should pay increasing attention to the multiple ways in which doing research always is an embodied practice. I present three case studies that highlight the complex ways in which research encounters speak to notions of intimacy, vulnerability and affect. In this way I argue that research encounters forge primary human relationalities that are marked by moments of convergence, conflict and despondency.

Author: Nina Hoel

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