Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research

Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research

Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research

Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research

Synopsis

This book extends the current discourse on the role of cultural knowledge in qualitative research, especially research conducted by women of color within their own community. Each author reports on her attempts to conceptualize herself as a researcher while simultaneously trying to honor her cultural connectedness and knowledge. As women researchers analyzing the personal and professional contexts in which their research was conducted, the authors argue that their gender, race, religion, and status have played critical roles in their research agendas. They offer a female perspective, though not a feminist critique per se, for they believe that gender does play a significant role in their research efforts. Equally important, they explore the role that race has played in their research, whether as women of color or white women conducting research among people of color. In reflecting on how their unique positionality allows them to understand relationships across many boundaries, the authors observe how, in most cases, because of their position as women and/or people of color, they have not had some of the traditional problems associated with access to multicultural sites. However, they have encountered other issues and they share how, as researchers, they met and resolved these issues for their particular settings. Each author also discusses how, in addressing these issues, she labored to meet the standards of academia, often at a personal cost. This book challenges existing paradigms by questioning the assumption of objectivity in research. It is essential reading--informative, provocative, and engaging--for researchers and students in research methods, women's studies, critical theory, and cross-cultural studies.

Excerpt

We invite you to learn of the songs of our souls--for recalling the past, altering the present, and transforming the future. In this book, we become the subjects of our own lives and research within and outside of the academy. Extending our sense of time and space, we acknowledge that our current status is the result of "collective struggle and support. Thus our understanding of our roles includes an interweaving of the personal and the public--the intellectual and the emotional--the scholarly and the political" (Ladson-Billings, 1996, p. 59). We are not the first group of women to write about our experiences as educational researchers, nor are we attempting to represent a monolithic view of women, especially women of color, who conduct qualitative research among members of their own communities. We are seeking to extend the current discourse on the role of cultural knowledge in qualitative research, especially research conducted by women of color within their community. Through self-reflection we try "telling the past as we have learned it, mouth-to-mouth, telling the present as we see, know, and feel it in our hearts and with our words" (hooks, 1989, p.3).

In this book, the chapters detail growth and struggle, joy and pain, fear and confusion, worry and doubt, as each researcher attempts to conceptualize herself as a researcher, at the same time trying to honor her cultural connectedness and knowledge. Not surprisingly, each author has carved out her own distinct pathway to arrive at her present understanding of what it means to be a woman who conducts research within her own community. In order to develop these understandings, each woman testifies to the unsettledness she has experienced. Thus, there are multiple dimensions of complexity reflected in each chapter that acknowledge and try to convey how conscious and unconscious cultural knowledge and memory help to inform her research in substantive and powerful ways.

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