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Viv Caruana and Catherine Montgomery

This article presents a comprehensive review of research on transnational higher education published between 2006 and 2014. It aims to provide an overview of a highly complex field that is both nascent and shifting, with research developing unevenly and concentrated in particular areas. This overview will enable academics working in transnational higher education to place their practice in the wider context of socio-political and cultural discourses. The review adopts the concept of positionality, which defines individuals and/or groups not in terms of fixed identities but by their shifting location within networks of relationships as a means of understanding the changing landscape.

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Solveig Roth and Dagny Stuedahl

daily life and school can have implications for educational trajectories given that engagement in learning across formal and informal settings takes place, as Glynda Hull and James Greeno (2006) remind us. We use the concept of social positional

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Moving the Goalposts

Postcolonial Intersections and Mobilities

Stéphanie Ponsavady

The articles in this issue’s special section strike a balance of disciplines, geographical areas, scales, and seniority levels, and offer thought-provoking examples of studies of postcolonial intersectional locations of mobile people and ideas in Asia. This response seeks to tease out the potential avenues not only for future themes of research but also for innovative methods. It concludes with an invitation to better incorporate intersectionality into our research and acknowledge how it also plays out in our own positionality and understanding of mobility.

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Questions from the Field

Anthropological Self-reflexivity through the Eyes of Study Participants

Sangmi Lee

Although there is nothing new about how anthropologists can be the observed instead of simply being the observer and that they can also be interviewed while interviewing, no one has studied the kinds of questions they receive from the people that they study and interact with in the field. Questions that research participants ask the anthropologists during fieldwork provide a critical way to reflect upon historical and persistent issues related to field-work, such as positionality, self-reflexivity and methodology. Based on fourteen months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork among two Hmong communities in Laos and the United States, this article examines some of the questions I received from the people in my study and suggests that anthropologists need to pay more critical attention to these questions as a source of self-reflexivity and positionality in the process of ethnographic writing.

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Lessons from Refugees

Research Ethics in the Context of Resettlement in South America

Marcia Vera Espinoza

snowballing ( Bryman 2012 ). This technique of engagement through another contact (in this case, another refugee) proved to be effective in providing refugees with more confidence in their decision to participate in the study. Positionality and Power

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Postface

Anthropology, bureaucracy and paperwork

Thomas Bierschenk

This postface links the contributions to this special issue to wider concerns in the anthropology of bureaucracy and the history of this disciplinary subfield. Anthropologists focus on documentary practices: how documents are produced, how they are being used (not always in the sense originally given to them by the producers), how they might be ‘brokered’ and how they are being contested – mostly by the production of other documents. The postface points to the epistemological implications of an anthropology of bureaucracy, under the term of ‘complicit positioning’, and argues for acknowledging the double face of bureaucracy and paperwork, as a form of domination and oppression, as well as of protection and liberation, and all the ambivalences this dialectic entails.

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Doing Gender Research as a 'Gendered Subject'

Challenges and Sparks of Being a Dual-Citizen Woman Researcher in Iran

Rassa Ghaffari

This contribution is based on the difficulties, challenges and stimuli faced during the months of field research conducted in Tehran for my PhD dissertation on transformations of gender roles in Iran. Therefore, it means to rethink the three main issues I faced during my ethnography in in a context characterized by peculiar social and cultural dynamics: the difficulties and advantages related to my condition of a woman who works on a topic full of nuances and complexities; my ‘accented identity’ as a researcher born and raised abroad but Iranian by affiliation; and the methodological and epistemological implications and dilemmas arisen in attempt to apply techniques and theories learned mainly within the Western academia.

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Introduction

Knowledge production and the politics of positionality in globalized and neoliberalized times

Graeme MacRae

This theme section seeks to keep alive important debates about the place of anthropology in the world that have been raised periodically since the 1970s, and most recently in a special issue of this journal entitled “Changing Flows in Anthropological Knowledge” (Buchowski and Dominguez 2012). The three articles in this theme section consider the place of anthropology in the university system, the building of a world anthropology, and the methodological challenges of the new conditions in which we work. All three critically address the interface and relationship between areas of changing power/knowledge and their relevance to the future of anthropology: both its place in the world and its contribution to the world.

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Elite ethnography in an insecure place

The methodological implications of “studying up” in Pakistan

Rosita Armytage

unique and particular challenges of hierarchy and access that are further complicated by the contrasting positionalities of the researcher and those they research. Beyond class and status, the researcher’s gender, age, and nationality intersect with those

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Alena Minchenia

allocated for a specific purpose of democracy promotion. As the article will demonstrate, professional protesters embody the processes formative for Belarusian protest communities. The positionality of a professional protester in the field of Belarusian