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Decolonizing researcher authenticity

Daza, Stephanie Lynn (2008) Decolonizing researcher authenticity. Race ethnicity and education, 11 (1). 71-85.. ISSN 1361-3324

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Abstract

This article examines the ways in which researcher authenticity is negotiated along three axes of difference, ethno‐linguistic affiliation, sexual orientation and race/skin color. Ultimately, it analyzes how researcher authenticity is produced and played out within research, via interactions between participants, researchers and others who influence the research project, especially when researchers and research are transnational. Yoshino's Covering, a new addition to critical legal studies, provides a theoretical framework for analysis. Namely, what society comes to imagine as ‘normal’ and ‘mainstream’ are myths that limit us by forcing us to play‐up favored traits and downplay disfavored ones. In order to be considered authentic, researchers often are pressed into playing roles – fitting norms – produced by narratives that limit and give way to how the researcher can be imagined. The analysis suggests that researcher authenticity, however, is not completely fixed, but discursively shaped during research. The ambivalence inherent in inscribing imaginary subjects that are inadequate and unattainable unfixes the subject and provides a gap where the possibility for producing new narratives exists. This work has implications for the narrow view of science that quickly is becoming the norm in this era of research.

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