The Researcher As Unreliable Narrator: Writing Sociological Crime Fiction as a Research Method

Art/Law 1(1), Forthcoming

30 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2021

Date Written: October 24, 2019

Abstract

This article discusses the potentials and pitfalls of creating fiction as a social research method, through reflecting on the sociological crime fiction I wrote between 2015 and 2017. Following the ontological premise that our research methods produce rather than represent our objects of investigation, I draw on poststructuralist and feminist thought to demonstrate the process, ethics, and rationale for writing fiction as a method of social research. Drawing on actor-network theory (ANT) approaches, I argue that ‘translating’ research data into artistic forms is particularly productive for poststructuralist approaches to the research of complex and emotive social phenomena like crime. Taking up the concept of ‘enforced narratives’ from the work of Carolyn Steedman, I discuss the ethics of undertaking creative and collaborative research with people who have experienced criminalisation. I argue that sociological crime fiction can reimagine the complexity of crime in ways that does not further punish the criminalised.

Keywords: fiction, sociological fiction, crime, collaboration, ethics, enforced narratives, translation

Suggested Citation

Crockett Thomas, Phil, The Researcher As Unreliable Narrator: Writing Sociological Crime Fiction as a Research Method (October 24, 2019). Art/Law 1(1), Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3719858 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3719858

Phil Crockett Thomas (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow

United Kingdom

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