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    ‘Insiderness’, ‘involvement’ and emotions: impacts for methods, ‘knowledge’ and social research

    Dobson, Rachael (2009) ‘Insiderness’, ‘involvement’ and emotions: impacts for methods, ‘knowledge’ and social research. People, Place & Policy 3 (3), pp. 183-195. ISSN 1753-8041.

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    This paper discusses ‘insider’ identity based on experiences as both social researcher and housing practitioner, drawing on Norbert Elias’s ‘involvement and detachment’ theory. Examples from doctoral research are used to illustrate where ‘involvement’ influenced social research processes. ‘Involvement’ was highlighted by reactions during research processes and this account describes transitions towards a more ‘detached’ perspective. This is not to discredit emotional reactions in research stages, or to suggest that we should seek to just manage those feelings. Instead, embracing and confronting reactions helped generate substantive findings and a ‘critical eye’ beneficial for developing more sophisticated explanatory insights. Understanding ‘involvement’ is an ongoing process that the researcher constantly refines and adapts through an experiential approach to social researching. Those complex and challenging processes touch on important issues about what constitutes knowledge, what it means to ‘do’ social research and how it is possible to ‘be’ self critical.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Rachael Dobson
    Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 10:38
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:37


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