Using the researcher’s body for careful engagement

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Abstract

Empirical research and methods in qualitative inquiries has been defined as the processes, engagements, and relations in ‘the field’. However, ethnographers and anthropologists have argued that engagements with the field continues after the researcher’s presence in the field and into the analysis (Spradley 1980, Van Maanen 1988). It may seem trivial to state that the researcher’s body is the main connection between field and analysis, but still little attention has been put to this fact. This chapter suggests a specific way to engage carefully with all actors in the field in empirical work and analytical work alike. It has two interconnected contributions. The first one is the examination and conceptualization of the researcher as an assembly of human and nonhuman actors that enhances the researcher’s ability to engage carefully with the diverse actors in the field. By this enhanced engagement, the researcher’s body becomes radically alert, open to impressions from actors in the field, that are otherwise difficult to sense. The aim of this is to create an heterogeneous collection of empirical data that also paves the way for less visible patterns of analysis (Star 1990). The second contribution is our suggestion of an analytical practice that keeps researcher’s body engaged with the field, making way for re-scription (Pols 2008) by utilizing the researcher’s body with its imprints of the field and considering the partial perspective (Haraway 1988). This suggests that a careful engagement connects the researcher and the field and creates a Parliament of Things (Latour 1993) for human actors to listen to.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCareful engagements
EditorsDoris Lydahl, Niels Christian Moesfeldt Nickelsen
PublisherSpringer
Publication statusIn preparation - 2021

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