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.
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