Researching powerful people from a feminist and anti-racist perspective: a note on gender, collusion and marginality

Neal, Sarah (1995). Researching powerful people from a feminist and anti-racist perspective: a note on gender, collusion and marginality. British Educational Research Journal, 21(4) pp. 517–531.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0141192950210406

Abstract

Drawing on the fieldwork experiences of my ethnographic, doctoral research into equal opportunities and anti-racism in higher education and the role of academic trade unions in the policy initiatives in the area, this paper is centrally concerned with the relationship between the researcher and the researched—when the researched are powerful. For me this meant Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice-Chancellors, Deans, Heads of Services, senior/famous academics and union officials. The paper seeks to argue that there is a continuing paucity in social research on the powerful and questions, through autobiographical accounts, the extent to which feminist and anti-racist methodologies/critiques have actually been able to provide a terrain in which this type of research can be conducted.

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