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Geo-methodology: Critical Reflexivity and Positionality Joel E. Correia Geography 5161 University of Colorado at Boulder 24 February 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Geo-methodology: Critical Reflexivity and Positionality Joel E. Correia Geography 5161 University of Colorado at Boulder 24 February 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geo-methodology: Critical Reflexivity and Positionality Joel E. Correia Geography 5161 University of Colorado at Boulder 24 February 2013

2 Geo-epistemology: Critical Reflexivity and Positionality Joel E. Correia Geography 5161 University of Colorado at Boulder 24 February 2013

3 “Observation has been taken for granted as something that occurs ‘naturally’ […] With critical reflection, however, observation can be transformed into a self-conscious, effective, and ethically sound practice” (Kearns 2005, 192).

4 Overview What are critical reflexivity and positionality? Key scholarly influences An iterative process A dilemma: The subject – object divide Critical reflexivity, positionality, and methodology in the field of geography: Examples Activity & Discussion

5 Critical Reflexivity and Positionality

6 (Critical) Reflexivity Defined The Dictionary of Human Geography (2009, 627) defines reflexivity as: Reflexivity entails consideration of a variety of factors: personal biography, social situation, political values, situation within the academic labour [sic] structure, personal relationship to research respondents, relations of authority within the research process and so on. Reflexivity is thus a complex field, concerning EPISTEMOLOGY, politics and METHODOLOGY (original emphasis). Reflexivity is thus a complex field, concerning EPISTEMOLOGY, politics and METHODOLOGY

7 Hand with reflecting sphere, M.C. Escher (1935)

8 Positionality Defined Gregory et al. (2009, 556) define positionality as: The fact that a researcher’s social, cultural and subject positions (and other psychological processes) affect: 1. 1.the questions they ask [and] how they frame them… 2. 2.their relations with those they research in the field or through interviews [and] interpretations they place on empirical evidence 3. 3.access to data, institutions and outlets for research dissemination; and 4. 4.the likelihood that they will be listened to and heard.

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11 Key Scholarly Influences

12 Feminist Scholars Haraway (1988) Butler (1990) Nast (1994)

13 A Dilemma: The Subject – Object Divide

14 ObjectSubject Assumed Divide “God-trick”

15 Object Subject Assumed Divide

16 Object - Subject Subject - Object Assumed Divide

17 Subject and Object Merged?

18 An Iterative Process: Triple-loop Learning Source: Pahl-Wostl, C. (2009)

19 Feminist Scholars Haraway (1988) God-Trick Situated knowledges Partial perspective Butler (1990) Performativity Gender Trouble Nast (1994) Betweenness

20 Other Influences Post-Structuralism Michel Foucault Discourse Science and Technology Studies Actor-Network Theory Boundary Spanners “…[T]he objects which we perform, are always more than one and less than many” (Law 1999, 11, original emphasis).

21 Critical Reflexivity, Positionality, and Methodology in the Field of Geography

22 Examples from Geography Butz (2010): Autoethnography as sensibility. Rose (1997): Situating knowledges: Positionality, reflexivities and other practices. Katz (1994): Playing the field: Questions of fieldwork in geography. Robbins (2005): Research is theft: Environmental inquiry in a post-colonial world.

23 Examples from Geography Lantham (2003): Research, performance, and doing human geography: Some reflections on the diary- photograph, diary interview method. Massey (1992): A place called home. Phillips and Johns (2012): How to be an explorer: Rediscovering your creativity.

24 Concluding Remarks

25 References and Reading Butler, J Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge. Butz, D Autoethnography as sensibility. In D. DeLyser et al. (ed.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Geography, Los Angeles: Sage. Clifford, J Introduction to partial truths. In J. Clifford and G. Marcus (ed.). Writing worlds: Discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape, Berkeley: University of California Press. Escher, M.C Hand with reflecting sphere. (Accessed February 22, 2012). Foucault, M Trans. A. Sheridan. Discipline and Punish. New York: Vintage Books. Geertz, C Thick description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture. In C. Geertz, The interpretation of cultures, New York: Basic Books. Gregory, D. et al The dictionary of human geography. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Haraway, D Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14 no. 1: Katz, C Playing the field: Questions of fieldwork in geography. Professional Geographer. 46 no. 1: Kearns, R Knowing seeing? Undertaking observational research. In I. Hay (ed.), Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (Oxford: Oxford University Press), Lantham, A Research, performance, and doing human geography: Some reflections on the diary-photograph, diary-interview method. Environment and Planning A 35: Law, J After ANT: Complexity, naming and topology. In J. Law and J. Hassard Actor network theory and after. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Lawson, V Making development geography. London: Hodder Arnold. Massey, D A place called home? New Formations. 17: Nast, H Women in the field. The professional geographer, 46 no. 1: Pahl-Wostl, C. (2009). A conceptual framework for analysing adaptive capacity and multi-level learning processes in resource governance regimes. Global Environmental Change, 18, Phillips, R. and J. Johns How to be an explorer: rediscovering your creativity. In R. Phillips and J. Johns, Fieldwork in Human Geography, Los Angeles: Sage, Robbins, P Research is theft: Environmental inquiry in a post-colonial world. In Approaches to human geography. S. Atiken and G. Valentine (ed.), Rose G Situating knowledges: Positionality, reflexivities and other tactics. Progress in Human Geography 21(3) Wolford, W Workshop address at the Global Land Grabbing II conference at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. October 17.


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