How Do We Belong?
Researcher Positionality Within Qualitative Inquiry
Any form of qualitative inquiry is a social construction. The claims we make within our work are always negotiated through the voice of the author and as such are fused to narrative construction. Importantly, the role that the researcher plays in a research project requires some form of acknowledgement of awareness of that position. That awareness can be demonstrated in a variety of ways. Some authors choose to ‘reflect’ on their position within the discussion of their methods. Others write themselves directly into the work in order to ‘reveal’ their position, often more implicitly than explicitly. Some forms of writing engage that positionality directly, as a form of inquiry itself (e.g. autoethnography). Regardless of the form chosen to demonstrate positional awareness, qualitative researchers must necessarily engage in the ‘I-thou’ relationship of the work.
In the Symposium this year, we invite researchers to explore their positionality within their current work. Often, we do not have the time or space to explore these positions with much depth. Peer- reviewers, editors, and funders all tend to privilege the knowledge generated through the work over its multiple methodological nuances. As such, we aim to provide space for researchers to:
- Reflect on their current work in terms of the ways in which their ideas, values, and beliefs shape and are shaped by the work.
- Share and discuss how scholars in a variety of disciplines view, understand, and value the positionality of the researcher.
- Consider other possibilities for thinking, sharing, and writing about positionality.
More than 50 abstracts were submitted to the Symposium this year. The schedule and details of the Symposium will be released in mid to late December or early January once authors, presenters, and speakers are confirmed.
This year we aim to publish short papers based on author contributions. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be invited to submit a short paper following the Symposium.
Download the full programme for the event
Dr Sara Delamont is Reader Emerita in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff. She has been given both the BSA’s Liftetime Service Award and BERA’s John Nisbet Award and has a DSc Econ from Cardiff University. Involved with the Academy of Social Sciences since its beginnings in 1980, she was elected a Fellow in 2002, and is also a Fellow of the newer Learned Society of Wales.
Her most recent book (written with Neil Stephens and Claudio Campos) is Embodying Brazil: An Ethnography of Diasporic Capoeira, Routledge 2017, based on fieldwork beginning in 2003, and still going on. Her favourite of her own books is Feminist Sociology, Sage 2003. She has been doing ethnographic research since 1969, and was one of the founding editors of the Sage journal Qualitative Research.
Who should attend
This event will be of specific interest to developing and established qualitative researchers in the UK, and especially those in the South West