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Researching 'Race' and Ethnicity
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Researching 'Race' and Ethnicity
Methods, Knowledge and Power

First Edition


August 2003 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
'Gunaratnam's framework is rich in its examination and synthesis of approaches to the study of "race"… the reward for the reader who does pick up the book is that the author deftly articulates the complicated view of research on "race" first from the quantitative perspective and then skilfully moves the reader to issues of "race" in qualitative research' - Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism

'This is a welcome book for those engaged in policy and empirical work with an active research agenda… there is a level of theoretical sophistication in the text which is often missing from texts concerned with methods in this area' - Race Relations Abstracts

`The particular value of this book to readers lies in the discussion of "race", ethnicity and research issues within a political and social context. The author states her intention to explore some of the theoretical and practical dilemmas of researching "race" and ethnicity. This is, without question, achieved. I recommend it as essential reading for those concerned with increasing their awareness of issues relating to race, ethnicity and research practice' - Nurse Researcher

'This is a thought-provoking and challenging book which demonstrated the fractured and fluid nature of difference and power in the research process. Importantly it offers a guide to the ways in which research can be effectively and productively used in challenging the status quo' - Diversity in Health and Social Care

Researching `Race' and Ethnicity provides an innovative discussion of the methodological, epistemological and ethical challenges of doing qualitative research that is informed by questions of `race', ethnicity and social difference. By identifying and challenging `categorical thinking' and many longstanding assumptions about the meanings of `race' and ethnicity, the author gets to the heart of many of the everyday dilemmas and difficulties that researchers confront in the field, but are rarely theorised or openly discussed.

Yasmin Gunaratnam's insistence that `race' and ethnicity are a significant part of all qualitative research, and are not the `specialist' concerns of those whose work is explicitly focussed upon `race', provokes a radical rethinking of current methological debates. How do racial and ethnic categories inform our approaches to research? How does the racialised indentity of the researcher and the research participants affect the research interaction and the knowledge that we produce? What are the assumptions that are made about racialised subjectivity and inter-subjectivity? How can we make sense of accounts in which `race' and ethnicity are silent or are non-manifest? How can we work ethically across difference?

In examining these and other questions, the wide-ranging discussions in the book are animated by examples drawn from the author's ethnographic research with white and minoritized research participants. Through these examples readers will be able to engage with some of the complexities of research relationships, power relations and ethical concerns about engagement, disconnection and complicity in research. The attention that the book gives to the excluded experiences of minoritized researchers will be of particular value to many readers.

Researching `Race' and Ethnicity is essential reading for students and academics in the social sciences.

 
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION - THINKING THROUGH KNOWLEDGE, METHODS AND POWER
 
Researching `Race' and Ethnicity
 
A `Treacherous Bind'
Working with and against Racial Categories

 
 
PART TWO: DEBATES AND DILEMMAS IN `INTERRACIAL' RESEARCH
 
Faking `Race' or `Making Race'?
`Race-of-Interviewer-Effects' in Survey Research

 
 
Messy Work
Qualitative Interviewing across Difference

 
 
PART THREE: THE DOINGS AND UNDOINGS OF `RACE' - RESEARCHING LIVED EXPERIENCE
 
Looking for `Race'?
Analyzing Racialized Meanings and Identifications

 
 
`What Do You Mean?' Insecurities of Meaning and Difference
 
Threatening Topics and Difference
Encounters in Psycho-Social Space

 
 
Towards Multi-Sited Research
Connection, Juxtapositioning and Complicity

 

'This is a welcome book for those engaged in policy and empirical work

with an active research agenda. There are three parts to the book, with the most persuasive being the second, which looks at the thorny questions of what the author describes as 'race of interviewer effects' in

other words does it matter what race or ethnicity the interviewer is in social research. Gunaratnam looks at this problem in terms of the social

construction of the nature of research on racialized groups in Britain. The

very fact that the race/ ethnicity of a researcher is posed as a problem for

reflection and questioning is the starting point for the author. In this way, the race/ethnicity of the researchers matters as a source of methodological concern, but there is no correct method for all contexts.

Indeed, there is a level of theoretical sophistication in the text which is

often missing from texts concerned with methods in this area. But this

does not take away from socially committed comment on the author's

fieldwork area of hospice provision. Here we find the application of some

of the methodological issues raised in the book in the author's own work.

The only criticism is the specificity of this research area for the general

ideas that are presented, a more general overview of research in the arena

(a difficult and wide ranging task) and how it may apply to the framework

presented would have been more useful. However, this is still one of the

few books, out of Britain, which takes seriously the issues of methodology and race' - Race Relations Abstacts

'This is a thought-provoking and challenging book which demonstrated the fractured and fluid nature of difference and power in the research process. Importantly it offers a guide to the ways in which research can be effectively and productively used in challenging the status quo' - Diversity in Health and Social Care

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