The researcher’s erotic subjectivities : methodological and ethical challenges
Although in recent years, feminist scholarship on positionality and reflexivity has called growing attention to the relevance of the desire and sexuality of the researcher in knowledge production, the desiring researcher’s body still often remains hidden in ethnographic accounts. Moreover, while intense participant observation in various social activities is widely lauded as an effective method for gaining deep understanding of the culture under study, the researcher’s participation in sexual(ized) activities in the field seems to be more easily dismissed as unethical. This differential treatment of sex and desire is not only informed by a reluctance in the social sciences to engage with the body in general, but also by an enduring suspicion of and a squeamishness around the sexual body within society and research. Indeed, in times where sex research is still looking for full societal and academic legitimacy, there might be plenty of reasons why researchers choose not to self-disclose their intimate desires and interactions, especially not for those speaking from precarious situations.
The aim of this session is twofold. On an individual level, we are looking for contributions from scholars who have chosen (not) to include their erotic subjectivities, and discuss the personal, methodological, ethical or even epistemological reasons that have led to this choice. On a more structural level, we are looking for contributions investigating the methodological, epistemological and political consequences when including/excluding the erotic subjectivities of the researcher in research outputs.
Possible questions we would like to discuss are : Should sexuality be treated as fundamentally different because of its intimate nature, and therefore demanding for specific methodological and ethical considerations ? What are the gains and risks of fully acknowledging the blurred lines between research and personal space in the shared production of knowledge ? Which strategies and methods can we as sex researchers use to circumvent the stigma attached to sex research and alter our cultural system for the better ?
If you are interested to present a paper, please send an abstract of 300 words max to both Valerie De Craene (Valerie.Decraene@kuleuven.be) AND Katrien De Graeve (Katrien.DeGraeve@ugent.be) by April 9th 2017.
You will be notified with decisions on acceptance no later than April 15th 2017.
Expected format : paper presentations of max 15 minutes, followed by Q&A.
For more information on the conference and other organized session, see https://egsc2017.wordpress.com/