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Three participatory geographers: reflections on positionality and working with participants in researching religions, spiritualities, and faith

Denning, S.; Scriven, R.; Denning, Stephanie; Scriven, Richard; Slatter, R

Authors

S. Denning

R. Scriven

Stephanie Denning

Richard Scriven



Abstract

This paper advances the geographies of religion, spirituality and faith's limited attention to positionality by discussing the critical issues raised when using participatory approaches. Reflecting on three cases of participatory research, we foreground the dynamics of being a researcher with faith when working with participants from faith communities. Advocating participatory approaches as valuable methodologies that should be used more extensively to explore beliefs, faith practices, and social justice, we argue that greater attention needs to be given to the positionality of researchers undertaking this sort of research. Our cases raise three themes for discussion. First, the variety of ways in which faith positionalities influence how research is developed, conducted and concluded. Second, the intersections between our faith and other positionalities and how they shape our roles and relationships with research participants. Third, the fluid and multifaceted nature of faith positionalities and how they are changed, emphasized, and softened through the dynamics and entanglements of fieldwork. In doing so, we reflect on the complexities of being a researcher with faith, argue that faith positionality is a helpful dimension of their research rather than a limitation, and that all cultural, social and historical geographical researchers should reflect on their faith positionality.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Social & Cultural Geography
Print ISSN 1464-9365
Electronic ISSN 1470-1197
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-19
APA6 Citation Denning, S., Scriven, R., Denning, S., Scriven, R., & Slatter, R. (in press). Three participatory geographers: reflections on positionality and working with participants in researching religions, spiritualities, and faith. Social & cultural geography, 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2020.1815826
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2020.1815826
Keywords Geographies of religion; Participatory geographies; Faith; Spirituality; Positionality; Researchers with faith
Publisher URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14649365.2020.1815826?journalCode=rscg20
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline....ope&journalCode=rscg20; Received: 2019-08-21; Accepted: 2020-07-14; Published: 2020-09-03
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