Status, Gender and Geography: Power Negotiations in Police Research
Qualitative Research, doi:10.1177/1468794112468474
Posted: 7 Nov 2013
Date Written: January 4, 2013
This article is a reflexive analysis of the impact of researcher characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity and status on doing police research in conflict zones. The reported research explored perceptions of front-line police officers working in left wing extremism-affected areas in India. I suggest five working propositions that emerge from this work. First, power is necessarily negotiated between the interviewer and the interviewee throughout the interview process. Second, while researcher gender and age do influence the research process, it is proposed that status dominates power negotiations in hierarchical organisations. Third, working in conflict zones places many restrictions on the researcher and the research process, which impact research design and outcomes. Fourth, the microgeography of the interview site is relevant to how power negotiations are conducted. Finally, guidelines to resolve ethical dilemmas rarely provide solutions to tricky field research situations.
Keywords: gender, India, interviews, police, power negotiations, reflexivity, status
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