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Spatialising performance: masculinities and femininities in a ‘fragmented’ field

By Ayona Datta

Abstract

While there are many self-reflexive accounts of ‘field’ experience, few researchers have explicitly examined how different places within the field shape gender performances and subsequently the research process. This paper spatialises the notion of ‘performance’ by examining how male and female bodies in particular places of the field are perceived both by researchers and participants as markers of gender identity. The analysis is based on fieldwork in Subhash Camp, a squatter settlement in New Delhi where the author and her research assistant conducted semi-structured interviews with the residents. The fieldwork highlighted how the embedded power structures in different places of the field created encounters between different gendered bodies and, in turn, how different relationships between researchers and participants shaped the field ‘experience’. I suggest that the ‘field’ should not be understood as a homogeneous terrain, but as a fragmented collection of places, each constructing multiple gender identities in research, and each telling its own research story

Topics: GN Anthropology, HM Sociology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1080/09663690701863307
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:3097
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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