Researching anti racism education: Negotiating the spaces 'in-between'

Year: 1998

Author: Arber, Ruth E

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

It is a quandary for narrative researchers of racism and anti racism that even as the other is encouraged to speak within the study, the researcher orchestrates their voices and is also positioned within the research. Researchers are cautioned that it is difficult, if not impossible, to write about others and reminded that a first task for understanding racism and therefore anti racism education needs to be to understand ourselves. Even as researchers divulge their positionality however, their positionality within the research remains undefined. Recent writings demonstrate that we are multipositioned, implicated in unequally empowered ways of understanding and doing; that people share positionings in common and yet are not simply defined by a set of binaries; black, white, working class, middle class, female, male. This paper seeks to understand the implications of this 'changing of the subject' on the way researchers understand their positionality within the research. In doing so it seeks to untangle Homi Bhabha's observation that subjects are formed in excess of the parts of difference, especially as they are usually defined as race, class and gender; and that communities share experiences but have understandings, values, meanings and priorities which are antagonistic, conflictural and incommensurable.