Trying to be a vulnerable observer: Matters of agency, solidarity and hospitality in feminist ethnography
until further notice
Number of pages
SourceWomen's Studies International Forum, 43, (2014), pp. 50-58
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Women's Studies International Forum
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
With the concept of the 'vulnerable observer', Ruth Behar problematizes the issue of whether researchers are 'just innocent bystanders' observing and engaging in their own and other cultural diversities. In this article, I seek to further explore this engagement in my research on Mexican female politicians. This encounter with these - in particular right-wing - women has not only led to me having a different understanding of agency, but has also caused me to critically examine the practice of conducting feminist research. Can feminist solidarity be encountered and critical standards met in research on conservative women? What kind of engagement or common ground can be found in this inter-subjective and transnational space, connecting myself as researcher to the Mexican women under study? In trying to answer these questions, I will entertain both Behar's notion of vulnerability and Derrida's notion of hospitality.
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