“You again – what are you researching this time?”

Can You Ever “Leave the Field”?

Authors

  • Kath Browne University of Brighton
  • Elizabeth Dinnie The James Hutton Institute

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v7i2.163

Keywords:

insider–outsider dynamics, positionality, researcher–participant dynamics, research fields

Abstract

This article reflects on “going back” to the field as a researcher who has investigated the intersections of sexualities and spiritualities and occupying multiple and diverse positionalities in relation to research and researcher identities. It explores what it means to “go back” and “give back,” where the lines are permanently blurred between “participant” and “researcher” in particular spiritual spaces. We reflect on how sexualities are implicated in this process, as well as how spiritualities are enacted (or not) on return as a “non-researcher.” We look at what “matters” and what fails to matter through the themes of: being a (non) researcher; being known and unknown, and engaging spiritualities and sexualities. The article argues that “going back” is something that requires further exploration where pleasure and spirituality is found both in the experiences of the space itself and from undertaking research in these spaces.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Kath Browne, University of Brighton

Kath Browne is a reader at the University of Brighton. Her research interests encompass the areas of sexualities, gender, feminisms, queer, spiritualities and everyday lives. She has co-authored the book Queer Spiritual Spaces(Ashgate, 2010) and co-edited Queer Methods and Methodologies(Ashgate, 2010). She worked on the Count Me In Too research (www.countmeintoo.co.uk) from 2005–2010.

Elizabeth Dinnie, The James Hutton Institute

Elizabeth Dinnie is a qualitative social researcher at the James Hutton Institute (formerly Macaulay), Aberdeen with interests in (rural) community resilience, rural-urban conflict resolutions, climate change adaptation, and urban greenspace and well-being. She is currently researching rural community empowerment in Scotland, outdoor access management in the Cairngorms, and community resilience factors in adapting to climate change. In 2008 she was postdoctoral researcher on the Queer Spiritual Spaces project. Her case study explored LGB peoples’ experiences at the Findhorn spiritual community in Moray, Scotland.

References

Abrams, P., and A. McCulloch. 1976. Communes, Sociology and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bogliolo, K., and C. Newfeld. 2002. In Search of the Magic of Findhorn. Findhorn: Findhorn Press.

Brown, G., K. Browne and J. Lim. 2011. “Sexual Life,” in V. Del Casino, Jr, M. Thomas, R. Panelli and P. Cloke, eds. A Companion to Social Geography. London: Blackwell, 293–308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781444395211.ch17

Browne, K. 2003. “Negotiations and Fieldworkings: Friendship and Feminist Research,” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographers, 2.2, 132–46.

Browne, K. 2009a. “Womyn’s Separatist Spaces: Rethinking Spaces of Difference and Exclusion,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 34.4, 541–56. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2009.00361.x

Browne, K. 2009b. “Naked and Dirty: Rethinking (Not) Attending Festivals,” Tourism and Cultural Change, 7.2, 1–18.

Browne, K. 2011. “Beyond Rural Idylls: Imperfect Lesbian Utopias at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival,” Rural Studies, 27.1, 13–23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2010.08.001

Browne, K., S. R. Munt and A. K. T. Yip. 2010. Queer Spiritual Spaces: Sexuality and Sacred Places. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Browne, K., and C. Nash, eds. 2010. Queering Methods and Methodologies: Queer Theories and Social Science Research. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Clark, S. M. 1992. “Myth, Metaphor, and Manifestation: The Negotiation of Belief in a New Age Community,” in J. R. Lewis and J. G. Melton, eds. Perspectives on the New Age. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Cook, J. A., and M. M. Fonow. 1990. “Knowledge and Women’s Interest: Issues of Epistemology and Methodology in Feminist Sociological Research,” in J. McCarl Nielson, ed., Feminist Research Methods: Exemplary Readings in the Social Sciences. London: Westview Press, 2–29.

Cvetkovich, A., and S. Wahng. 2001. “Don’t Stop the Music: Roundtable Discussion with Workers from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival,” GLQ: Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 7.1, 131–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/10642684-7-1-131

Dinnie, E. 2008. “Managing Individuality: An Ethnography of the Findhorn Foundation Community,” PhD thesis: University of Aberdeen.

Dinnie, E., and K. Browne. 2011. “Creating a Sexual Self in Heteronormative Space: Integrations and Imperatives among Visitors and Residents of the Findhorn Community.”

Domosh, M. 2003. “Toward a More Fully Reciprocal Feminist Inquiry,” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographers, 2.1, 107–11.

Ellis, C. 1995. “Emotional and Ethical Quagmires in Returning to the Field,” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 24.1, 68–98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/089124195024001003

England, Kim. 1994. “Getting Personal: Reflexivity, Positionality and Feminist Research.” Professional Geographer, 46.1, 80–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0033-0124.1994.00080.x

Falconer Al-Hindi, K., and H. Kawabata. 2002. “Toward a More Fully Reflexive Feminist Geography,” in P. Moss, ed. Feminist Geographies in Practice. Oxford: Blackwell, 103–16.

Gallmeier, C. 1991. “Leaving, Revisiting, and Staying in Touch: Neglected Issues in Field Research,” in W. Shaffir and R. Stebbins, eds. Experiencing Fieldwork: An Inside View of Qualitative Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 224–31.

Gamson, J. 1997. “Messages of Exclusion: Gender, Movements and Symbolic Boundaries,” Gender & Society, 11.1, 178–99. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/089124397011002003

Hammersley, M., and P. Atkinson. 1995. Ethnography: Principles in Practice, 2nd edn. London: Routledge.

Harding, S. 1987. Feminism and Methodology. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Harding, S. 1993. “Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What is Strong Objectivity?” in L. Alcoff and E. Potter, eds. Feminist Epistemologies. London: Routledge, 49–82.

Lewin, E., and W. Leap. 1996. Out in the Field: Reflections of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Longino, H. E. 1993. “Subjects, Power, and Knowledge: Description and Prescription in Feminist Philosophies of Science,” in L. Alcoff and E. Potter, eds. Feminist Epistemologies. London: Routledge, 101–20.

Miller, B., and L. Humphreys. 1980. “Keeping in Touch: Maintaining Contact with Stigmatized Subjects,” in W. B. Shaffir, R. A. Stebbins and A. Turowetz, eds. Fieldwork Experience: Qualitative Approaches to Social Research. New York: St Martin’s, 212–23.

Morris, B. J. 1999. Eden Built by Eves: The Culture of Women’s Music Festivals. Los Angeles: Alyson.

mrs kinpaisby. 2008. “Taking Stock of Participatory Geographies: Envisioning the Communiversity,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 33.3, 292–99.

Nisbet, R. 1967. The Sociological Tradition. London: Heinemann.

Oakley, A. 1998. “Gender, Methodology and People’s Way of Knowing: Some Problems with Feminism and Paradigm Debate in Social Science,” Sociology, 32.4, 707–34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038598032004005

Ortiz, S. 2004. “Leaving the Private World of Wives of Professional Athletes: A Male Sociologist’s Reflections,” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 33.4, 466–87. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0891241604265980

Prince, R., and D. Riches. 2000. The New Age in Glastonbury. Oxford: Bergahn Books.

Riddell, C. 1991. The Findhorn Community: Creating a Human Identity for the 21st Century. Forres: Findhorn Press.

Rigby, A., and B. S. Turner. 1972. “Findhorn Community, Centre of Light: A Sociological Study of New Forms of Religion,” in M. Hill, ed., Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain. London: SCM Press, 72–86.

Robbins, T. 1988. Cults, Converts and Charisma: The Sociology of New Religious Movements. London: Sage.

Sutcliffe, S. 2000. “A Colony of Seekers: Findhorn in the 1990s,” Journal of Contemporary Religion, 15.2, 215–31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537900050005985

Valentine, G. 2002. “People Like Us: Negotiating Sameness and Difference in the Research Process,” in P. Moss, ed. Feminist Geography in Practice. Blackwell: Oxford, 116–26.

Vanderbeck, R. 2005. “Masculinities and Fieldwork: Widening the Discussion,” Gender, Place and Culture, 12.4, 387–402. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09663690500356537

Walker, A. 1994. The Kingdom Within: A Guide to the Spiritual Work of the Findhorn Community. Forres: Findhorn Press.

Zablocki, B. 1980. Alienation and Charisma: A Study of Contemporary American Communes. London: Collier Macmillan.

Published

2013-03-22

How to Cite

Browne, K., & Dinnie, E. (2013). “You again – what are you researching this time?”: Can You Ever “Leave the Field”?. Fieldwork in Religion, 7(2), 163–178. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v7i2.163

Issue

Section

Articles