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‘Please explain to me how I’m vulnerable’: Learning how to rework experiences of researcher vulnerability by listening carefully to care experienced young people

Mannay, Dawn ORCID: 2022. ‘Please explain to me how I’m vulnerable’: Learning how to rework experiences of researcher vulnerability by listening carefully to care experienced young people. Presented at: 8th Annual Qualitative Research Symposium: Researcher Vulnerability, Bath, England, 01-02 February 2022.

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This presentation explores how vulnerability operates throughout the research process, exploring the affective elements of negotiation within professional and personal research relationships. It considers research both within and beyond the field, examining the role of reflexivity, emotion, and vulnerability in active research relationships, in the process of analysis, and in the everyday encounters, interactions and recollections which act on and through the researcher. The paper draws on research with care experienced communities in Wales who are often positioned as ‘vulnerable’ in ways that makes ‘vulnerability’ a failing rather than an artefact of social inequalities. In working with care experienced young people and listening to their accounts of misrecognition, resilience, and adaption but also of ongoing forms of loss and absence, the researcher can experience different forms of vulnerability. This vulnerability can emerge when they are exposed to the emotional worlds of participants. They may begin to question their own role and be exposed the criticism that academia often fails to make any positive changes in the lives of participants, as the research process accrues more benefits for the researcher than the researched. There can also be guilt that in feeling vulnerable, the vulnerabilities of the researcher are not comparable, and should not be experienced, felt, or recognised. However, the paper argues that this defencelessness can be useful. In considering what it means to be vulnerable, the researcher can attempt to move beyond helplessness and reconsider how to negotiate new forms of ethical practice in the generation and sharing of qualitative research and its key messages. By listening carefully to young people labelled as ‘vulnerable’ there can be opportunities to reframe vulnerabilities and make them a productive component of qualitative research.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: qualitative research; emotion; vulnerability; care leavers; Coronavirus; ethics
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 10:35

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