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ERIC Number: ED401648
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Jun
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
The "Double Bind" of Re-presentation in Qualitative Research Methods.
Smithmier, Angela
A current movement in qualitative research is a preoccupation with representation of the "other" (Denzin and Lincoln 1994). Feminists, critical theorists and postmodernists have questioned the dominant, legitimized social order and remained sensitive to the multiple issues related to and emanating from power. This paper briefly reviews the critical and postmodern literatures and points to areas that are both promising but also puzzling. The paper then discusses how the researcher found herself in a double bind as she grappled with issues of power and representation at the intersection of theory and method. The paper describes how the issues of power and representation were important to the study of a school-linked, integrated social-services initiative in two low-income, racial-minority neighborhoods. As a methodological response to concerns raised in critical and postmodern epistemologies about the crisis of representation and power, the researcher attempted to introduce voice, remove herself from representation of others, and allay concerns of power "over." The paper describes methodological strategies consistent with the researcher's epistemological stance: asking and paying adult and child residents to conduct peer-on-peer interviews; including participants in the design of research questions; and "recycling" data back to the participants for purposes of verification. In an example of the "double bind," the researcher transcribed interviews verbatim in Black English to avoid imposing her "white academic" voice on neighborhood residents. Participants angrily charged that the transcripts made them look unintelligent. The researcher was also caught in the double bind of being a researcher and not being a researcher. Even if researchers try to eliminate or reduce their power through collaborative methods, are they really reducing or eliminating power? To the extent that everyone has questions, power lies with who does the asking and whose truths are being told. (Contains 30 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Qualitative Research in Education Conference (St. Paul, MN, June 1996).