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Interviewing men in uniform: a feminist approach?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Elaine Campbell

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Abstract

Feminist social science is marked by its diversity, its ethos of inclusiveness and its critical power. These qualities are best exemplified in feminisms' acknowledgement, at the epistemological level, that men as well as women are crucial participants in the feminist enterprise. Moreover, epistemological justifications for positioning men within feminism is matched by a commitment to think through the methodological implications of men's involvement as both researchers and researched. In particular, inclusiveness pushes at the boundary of what counts as feminist methodology, and it forces us to rethink the underlying principles of feminist research work. In this article, two key feminist methodological principles—rapport and empathy, and democracy—are interrogated in the light of a series of in-depth interviews with a group of powerful, authoritative and uniformed men (senior police officers). It is suggested that while there may be a temptation to dismiss the interviewing relations which evolved as 'non-feminist', they are also indicative of feminist methodological vitality and strength as well as its capacity to accommodate the fractured subjectivities of research participants. The paper concludes by positing a re-conceptualization of interviewing principles which not only appreciate diversity in feminist epistemological and methodological commitments, but also variability and difference in feminist research relationships.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Campbell E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Social Research Methodology

Year: 2003

Volume: 6

Issue: 4

Pages: 285-304

ISSN (print): 1364-5579

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5300

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13645570110109115

DOI: 10.1080/13645570110109115


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