This paper challenges the fixed boundaries that ethnographers have often constructed between religious insiders and outsiders. Drawing on Neitz's observations, it argues that the main task of reflexive fieldwork is locating the self in relation to ambiguous and shifting boundaries. We offer a comparative analysis of the experiences of two differently socially located researchers to illustrate how religious identity emerges as a continuum, on which one's place is negotiated with one's research participants. We also examine the importance of intersecting multiple identities. Finally, the paper questions whether social identity categories are the primary way that we relate with our respondents. It explores the spiritual and emotional dimensions of research relationships and argues that these may transform, reinforce and generally interact with social identities. Comparing our experiences, we outline the consequences of these reflections for data gathering and analysis.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Sociology of Religion|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)