Situating reflexivities: voices, positionalities and representations in feminist ethnographic texts

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This article traces the feminist discussion concerning the importance of reflexive analysis and reflexive writing for feminist research. It starts by describing two feminist currents that concern the way to be reflexive. The first, reflexivity as a corrective measure accords a great deal of significance to self-reflexivity and consequently, the analysis of the researcher's positionality is incorporated into the text. There are other feminist researchers that challenge this type of reflexivity claiming that this type of reflexivity innately reproduces the same relations they attempt to abolish. Their solution lies, among other things, in unsettling the research subject in a postmodernist text. While both currents consider their use of reflexivity as multi-vocal, intersubjective and post-colonial, they both nonetheless, depart from an ontologically predefined research relationship which confines the use of reflexivity to certain pre-defined scenarios. The article suggests the need to conceptualize reflexivity as situated. How to be reflexive will depend on the objectives of the research, the type of knowledge produced, the position of the research subject in the broader society and the particularities of the research context. Representational strategies will flow out of these decisions. This position is supported by illustrating the decision-making processes concerning the representational strategies taken in two research projects conducted in Lima, Peru. Because of the particularities of each context different textual strategies were used regarding the representation of the researcher's and research subjects' positionality in the text. It concludes with an epistemological discussion concerning engagement and adoption of a radical politics of empathy to ensure that the conceptualization of reflexivity as situated will not lead to a feminist research in which "anything goes" © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Early online date30 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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