B) In her paper, ‘Feminist Insider Dilemmas: Constructing Ethnic Identity with ‘Chicana’ Informants’ (1996, cited in Davis and Craven, 2016, p. 61), anthropologist, Patricia Zavella reflects on her experience as an ‘insider’ of the Chicano movement who was conducting research on Chicana working women. Zavella’s assumption of a shared ethnic identity with her research participants was challenged when she found that most of her participants identified as Spanish or Spanish American, rather than Chicana.
This example illustrates that “shared membership in a group does not automatically mean there is complete sameness within that group” (Davis and Craven, 2016, p. 61).
C) Anthropologist Kirin Narayan further points to the complexity of the hybrid position of insider/outsider researchers. In her article, ‘ How native is a ‘native’ anthropologist?’ (1993, cited in Davis and Craven, 2016, p. 61) she reflects on the problems of being seen by her colleagues as a ‘native’ researcher who could produce authentically ‘native’ knowledge.
This example illustrates that in the context of researchers who travel between the global north and south to return to their countries of origin and conduct research in postcolonial contexts, making assumptions about insider-researcher status “obscures the relations of privilege that they may have as an outsider as well, particularly vis-à-vis their education or class status” (Davis and Craven, 2016, p. 61).
D) Feminist geographer, Lorena Munoz, reflects on the role of her Chicana identity in positioning her as an insider with the community of Latina street vendors that she interviewed in Los Angeles (2010, cited in Davis and Craven, 2016, p. 61). Her identity as a ‘cross border Chicana’ in heteronormative spaces often conflicted with her queer identity. However, when one of her participants responded openly to her disclosure of her queer identity she found this point of difference “not only became a potential barrier, but also an opening to multiple ways of seeing the lives of women she studied” (Davis and Craven, 2016, p. 62).
This example illustrates an instance of finding connections with participants by working through differences that complicate the insider/outsider dichotomy.
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