reflexivity and queer embodiment: some reflections on sexualities research in Ghana
The ‘reflexive turn’ transcended disciplinary boundaries within the social sciences. Feminist scholars in particular have taken up its core concerns, establishing a wide-ranging literature on reflexivity in feminist theory and practice. In this paper, I contribute to this scholarship by deconstructing the ‘story’ of my own research as a white, genderqueer, masculine-presenting researcher in Ghana. This deconstruction is based on thirteen months of field research exploring LGBT activism in the capital city of Accra. Using a series of ethnographic vignettes, I examine questions of queer subjectivity, embodiment and self/Other dynamics in the research encounter. Specifically, I interrogate what a reflexive concern for power relations means when researchers share moments of commonality and difference with research participants, here in relation to axes of gender, sexuality, race and class. Finally, I explore the challenge of theorising resistance in light of feminist postcolonial critiques of the politics of representation. I conclude that it is only by locating these tensions and dissonances in the foreground of our inquiries that reflexivity becomes meaningful as a way of rendering knowledge production more accountable and transparent, of practising feminist solidarity, and of excavating our own queer research journeys.
keywordsreflexivity subjectivity feminist methodologies Ghana queer embodiment
I am grateful to Martin Rew, Emma Foster and Genevieve LeBaron for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers of Feminist Review for their insightful feedback and input. All errors and shortcomings remain my responsibility.
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