The Unequal Power Relation in the Final Interpretation

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article addresses the power relation in qualitative research and especially the importance of taking into consideration the problematic aspects of the power relation when executing the final interpretation of qualitative research. The methodology literature examines the unequal power relation in qualitative research by focusing on how society has become an interview society and on the lack of equality in interviews. Although the literature recommends being aware of asymmetry between research participants, it fails to look at how to address the final interpretation of qualitative research if the interpretation also takes the unequal power relation into account. Consequently, interpreting the researched in a respectful manner is difficult. This article demonstrates the necessity of increasing awareness of the unequal power relation by posing, discussing and, to some extent answering, three methodological questions inspired by meta-theory that are significant for qualitative research and qualitative researchers to reflect on. This article concludes that respectful interpretation and consciously paying attention to the unequal power relation in the final interpretation require decentring the subject, dissociating from the ideal of intersubjectivity, being descriptive instead of normative, accepting the unconquerable distance between the researcher and the researched and looking at the entire research process and analyses as an undeniable coproduction and interpretation.
TidsskriftQualitative studies
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)21-38
StatusUdgivet - 2013

Citer dette