Skip to main content

Working within hyphen-spaces in ethnographic research : implications for research identities and practice

Karunanayake, Geetha; Cunliffe, AL

Authors

Dr Geetha Karunanayake G.Karunanayake@hull.ac.uk
Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management/ Programme Director, BA Business and Management (Part-Time)

AL Cunliffe



Abstract

Ethnographers often find themselves wrestling with choices about their relationship with respondents: choices experienced by researchers engaged in many other methodologies. This article examines the agentic and political nature of those relationships using the notion of hyphen-spaces: a concept that offers a way of recognizing their complexity, making choices about how to position ourselves and work within them, and understanding the implications for research identities and practice. Drawing on Fine’s notion of ‘‘working the hyphens’’ and personal experience of ethnographic fieldwork in a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, we propose four hyphen-spaces of insiderness-outsiderness, sameness-difference, engagement-distance, and political activism–active neutrality.We believe an understanding of these relationships will help us become more informed and ethical researchers interested in engaging in different methodologies. Finally, we emphasize the fluid and agentic nature of researcherrespondent identities and the implications for practice.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Organizational Research Methods
Print ISSN 1094-4281
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
Pages 364-392
APA6 Citation Karunanayake, G., & Cunliffe, A. Working within hyphen-spaces in ethnographic research : implications for research identities and practice. Organizational Research Methods, 16(3), 364-392. doi:10.1177/1094428113489353
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1094428113489353
Keywords REF 2014 submission!!

Downloadable Citations