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Title: Radical Reflexivity in Qualitative Research
Contributor(s): Leary, David A (author); Minichiello, Victor  (author); Kottler, Jeffrey (author)
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: During the first part of the Iraq War, journalists often spoke of being embedded within army brigades. This was the only way they could approach the front line of the war on which they were reporting. Being embedded was a mixed experience: they were close to warfare but they also were, in a sense, censored by the structured and dominating experience of being embedded. If objectivity in journalistic reporting were ever a possibility, it was limited by being embedded. I (David) began a doctoral program after many years of working as a counselor with homeless and otherwise marginalized young people. Over those years, I had formulated key clinical questions, the primary one of which was, "How is it that some young people survive in spite of all the negative and debilitating experiences they encounter?" My research was about this question: about vulnerability and resilience, and the place of relationships (connectivity) in the movement from vulnerability to resilience. I chose to explore the experience of young males who engage in street-based prostitution, also known as sex work. After approaching forty-four males of various ages and with diverse backgrounds, I interviewed twenty-seven. Young or old, these males are often stereotypically regarded by clinicians and researchers as a small but highly vulnerable population group, and yet one that survives. Understanding this phenomenon was a core aim of my research. While this sounds a relatively simple research task, one complicating aspect of the project was that I was embedded in the environment. The purpose of this chapter is to understand that experience, the place of reflexivity in grappling with the lack of distance from the participants of the study, and with personal history. It is about exploring the tangible and live connection of me, the researcher, to the sex work scene and to those who engage in street-based sex work.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Qualitative Journeys: Student and Mentor Experiences With Research, p. 49-69
Publisher: Sage Publications
Place of Publication: Thousand Oaks, USA
ISBN: 9781412956772
Field of Research (FOR): 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B2 Chapter in a Book - Other
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