"Insider or outsider, both or neither: some dilemmas of interviewing in a cross-cultural setting" in Geoforum 30 (4), 337-350
This paper contributes to the growing literature on methods and techniques for conducting qualitative research in economic geography, as well as to recent feminist debates on the impact that relationships of power between researchers and their informants have on the rigor of the findings of qualitative research. Drawing upon my own experiences whilst conducting interviews with managers and workers in information processing companies in Jamaica, I will examine the ways that inter-cultural perceptions, interactions and representations influenced the fieldwork process, and their ultimate effect on my interpretation and writing of the final text. This paper includes that because of the dynamic way in which identities and their attendant power relations are created and transformed during business interviews, uncertainty will necessarily remain a residual in the evaluation and interpretation of information received. It argues that recognizing and naming these uncertainties is an important step towards not only establishing rigor in the research process, but also to displacing the indomitable authority of the author.
Beverley Mullings is a professor and Associate Undergraduate Program Head in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on feminist political economy, social transformation, labour, neoliberalism, and intersectionality in the Caribbean and the diaspora.
Other publications from this author include:
- "Caliban, social reproduction and our future yet to come" in Geoforum 118 (4), 150-158 (2021)
- "COVID-19's Cracks, Climate Crisis, and Academia's Role in Bringing about an Ontological Shift" Professional Geographer (2021). (2021)
- "Garrison Communities" in Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50, 141-145 (2019)
- "Reflections on mentoring as decolonial, transnational, feminist praxis" in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 25 (2), 1-18 (2019)
- "Cultivating an ethic of wellness in geography" in Canadian Geographer (2016)
- "Globalization and the territorializaton of the new Caribbean service economy" in Journal of Economic Geography 4 (3), 275-298. (2004)