A walk in the park: political emotions and ethnographic vacillation in activist research

Petray, Theresa L. (2012) A walk in the park: political emotions and ethnographic vacillation in activist research. Qualitative Research, 12 (5). pp. 554-564.

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Abstract

Critically engaged activist research blends a theoretical approach towards power and resistance with a practical methodology for ethnographies of social movements. However, when undertaking this sort of research it can be easy to lose sight of critical analysis because of the political emotions that researchers share with activist participants. I was reminded of the need for critical reflection by a particularly jarring ethnographic moment: during a quiet, early morning walk through Brisbane's Musgrave Park I became a witness in a murder investigation. This moment, and the aftermath of it, led me to critically analyse my own political emotions and those of my research participants. This paper examines the role of activist researchers through the lens of my moment in the park. I argue that, while it is important to share political emotions with research participants, activist researchers must remain reflexive and critical of those emotions.

Item ID: 23586
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Aboriginal Australians; activist research; ethnographic vacillation; ethnography; political emotion; protest; social movements
ISSN: 1741-3109
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2012 06:43
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 25%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160805 Social Change @ 25%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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