When home is part of the field: experiencing uncanniness of home in field conversations

Xymena Kurowska

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


An indigenous researcher, that is one ‘native’ to the site, arguably possesses a distinct advantage of cultural competence that facilitates ‘gleaning meaning’ in the field. There seems to be a variety of interrelated advantages to insiderness, such as the value of shared experiences, the value of greater access, the value of cultural interpretation, and the value of deeper understanding and clarity of thought for the researcher (Labaree, 2002: 103). Such assumptions are however based on the idea of data modelled on knowability and visibility. Research-at-home, i.e. in the researcher’s familiar settings of which she may be an integral part, problematizes such modelling in hermeneutical work. It shows as uncanny what we expect to penetrate. The most productive in the work of the indigenous scholar is to confront authenticity as an ideology and locate herself amidst shifting identifications (Narayan, 1993: 676), some of which may be barely realized. The trajectory of my research illustrates Joel Dinerstein’s striking observation that “[if] you’re passionate about your research, at some point you’ll recognize that it’s meaningful on a personal level because you’re researching yourself. Only you’ve externalized the questions”. The substance of the research has however become about working through the seduction of ‘the will to know’, in this case the self as the source of knowledge. I now worry that the call for a more reflexive use of the self presupposes either a set of standards for how ‘I’ should be used for generating knowledge, or a privileged access to self-knowledge and the effects of the self on the other. If so, it becomes something of the reductive and hegemonic “view from nowhere”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTactical Constructivism as Methods
Subtitle of host publicationExpression and Reflection
EditorsBrent Steele, Harry Gould , Oliver Kessler
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Print)978-1138089761, 1138089761
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018

Publication series

NameNew International Relations


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