odds with the women I will be meeting and interviewing. The relationship between researcher and researched has the potential to bear resemblance to that of oppressor and oppressed, institution and institutionalised and insider and outsider if proper respect, reflection and acknowledgement of the tension does not occur. McIntosh (1998) goes to great lengths to highlight the many ways that white people (and in particular men) have privilege in their society and as I am part of the same society as Indigenous people it is important that I am aware of how our society prioritises me over the Indigenous women I will be interviewing. In the past, the privilege of white researchers in Indigenous communities has not been recognised and therefore researchers have been callous, cruel and have misrepresented the communities who have trusted them (McIntosh 1988).I would like to contend that there are
three main issues that face cross-cultural researchers. Firstly, the means of knowledge production and distribution differs greatly from culture to culture and some forms of knowledge have more power or value than others (Leach and Davis 2012). In Western cultures knowledge is produced by positivist and factual information which can be known by everyone whereas Indigenous cultures tend towards anecdotal, ‘hidden and tacit’ knowledge that belongs only to certain people (Castree 2001). This presents a difficulty in research if the researcher values their own forms of knowledge production over that of the Indigenous person they are studying. In my research there is the potential for me to make my subject uncomfortable by asking qustions about knowledge I should not have access to or by assuming that my cultural form of knowledge production is more valuable than hers. There is also a power imbalance here in which my society will value my work more if the knowledge I am presenting is quantitative, repeatable and objective as opposed to the qualitative narrative data that may be generated from cross-cultural research participants. Secondly, it is highly likely that a researcher in a cross-cultural context will fail to recognise important symbols, themes or specific meanings because they are not embedded in that culture. Engaging in ethnographic field work is one way to ensure that a social researcher has a very complete understanding of a culture, but in this particular case this is not possible. Some ways to navigate this is to engage with the participants and other Indigenous researchers in the analysis stage to ensure that cultural idiosyncrasies are not overlooked. Thirdly, the voices of the participants in this study do not carry legitimacy on their own. My interpretation as a white academic givesthem validity and new found truth partly because of the way Australian society is stratified in my favour but also because my knowledge as an academic carries more value than theirs as the indigenous subject. Jones (2002)states that the
process of interpreting and narrative constructing as a researcher in the analysis stage carries
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- Spring '17
- Management, Indigenous Australians, researcher