Power Hierarchies between the Researcher and Informants Critical Observations during Fieldwork in a Roma Settlement

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Published Dec 28, 2018
Jekatyerina Dunajeva

Abstract

Scholars have long been interested in researching Roma; a form of “top-down research,” where the  researcher analyzes, gathers data, and interviews the “objects” of the research, is still dominant in the field, although an increasing number of critics have been proposing ways of including Roma in knowledge production to shape the discourse about themselves. Exclusion of Roma in the process of research silences their voices and contributes to incomplete, flawed findings that often reinforce stereotypes. This paper takes a critical look at interactions and the power dynamics between the researcher and the informant(s) during research based on one in-depth case study: fieldwork conducted in a small town in Hungary in 2012–13. The presented research is one small step towards deconstructing knowledge production with a focus on research ethics and practice, rather than a large-scale paradigm change. This paper strives to transcend the scholarly field of Romani Studies specifically, and contribute to the broader literature on Social Science methodology, especially scholarship about interpretive methods and fieldwork.

How to Cite

Dunajeva, J. (2018). Power Hierarchies between the Researcher and Informants: Critical Observations during Fieldwork in a Roma Settlement. Critical Romani Studies, 1(2), 124–143. https://doi.org/10.29098/crs.v1i2.3
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Keywords

Fieldwork, Roma, Marginalization, Ethics, Knowledge production

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