‘Studying up’: Researcher as Supplicant in Feminist Studies of Elite Spaces of Work
Jennifer L. Johnson

This paper explores the process of ‘studying up’ in feminist qualitative research, including how to approach and gain access to participants in elite spaces of work. I offer a discussion of supplication and the search for positional spaces as a qualitative research methodology across Northern and Southern ‘post’ colonial research contexts. I focus on the process of access to interviews with trade negotiators using field notes from 2005-06 fieldwork in Canada and CARICOM countries where the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement was negotiated. Researcher positionality and specifically the idea of ‘researcher as supplicant’ are then explored in the (post) colonial research setting. In contrast to research relationships in which the researcher and participant are imagined as sharing power, I argue that supplication and seeking out positional spaces with interviewees are productive ways of negotiating research relationships with interviewees who exercise economic and political forms of power that the researcher has no or little access to.

Full Text: PDF       DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v2n3a1