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Similarity and familiarity: reflections on indigenous ethnography with mothers, daughters and school teachers on the margins of contemporary Wales

Mannay, Dawn ORCID: and Creaghan, Jordon 2016. Similarity and familiarity: reflections on indigenous ethnography with mothers, daughters and school teachers on the margins of contemporary Wales. Ward, Michael, ed. Gender Identity and Research Relationships, Vol. 14. Studies in Qualitative Methods, Bingley: Emerald, pp. 85-103. (10.1108/S1042-319220160000014017)

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Purpose This chapter reflects on the process of conducting qualitative research as an indigenous researcher, drawing from two studies based in south Wales (UK). The chapter explores the advantages of similarity in relation to trust, access, gender and understandings of locality; but it also complicates this position by examining the problem of familiarity. Methodology The studies, one doctoral research and one an undergraduate dissertation project, both took a qualitative approach and introduced visual methods of data-production including collages, maps, photographs and timelines. These activities were followed by individual elicitation interviews. Findings The chapter argues that the insider outsider binary is unable capture the complexity of research relationships; however, these distinctions remain central in challenging the researcher’s preconceptions and the propensity for their research to be clouded by their subjective assumptions of class, gender, locality and community. The chapter suggests that researchers need to engage in a high level of reflexivity and honesty in exploring how they view themselves, how they are seen by participants and what this means practically and ethically for their research projects. Research implications The chapter presents strategies to fight familiarity in fieldwork and considers the ethical issues that arise when research is conducted from the competing perspectives of both insider and academic. Value The authors focus on uncertainties and reservations in the fieldwork process and move beyond notions of fighting familiarity to consider the unforeseen circumstances of acquaintance and novel positionings within established social networks.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > L Education (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Familiarity; Fieldwork; Gender; Insider Research; Reflexivity; Visual Methods
Additional Information: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Publisher: Emerald
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 June 2016
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 10:16

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