HOMInG WORKING PAPER NO. 3_2018: SETTING THE TABLE, HAVING A SEAT. A REFLECTION ON POSITIONALITIES WHILE SEARCHING FOR HOME AND MIGRATION
HOMInG WP 3_2018 – Sara Bonfanti, Aurora Massa, Alejandro Miranda
Setting the table, having a seat. A reflection on positionalities while searching for home and migration
It is widely recognised in contemporary social scholarship that knowledge is produced and shaped by the researchers’ specific social positions, and the way these interlace with the positions held by research participants. While conducting ethnography inside (and beyond) domestic environments makes this evident, it also challenges the ethnographers’ assumptions because of their constantly shifting positions while examining homemaking in the context of extended mobility. This paper reflects on the positionality of three social science researchers collaborating in a common project while conducting fieldwork on homemaking and migration in different locations with different reference groups. Emerging issues of insider/outsiderness, gender and racialised bodies, and class and education are exemplified with three ethnographic vignettes. We use these cases to suggest that the analysis of our positionalities as ‘guests’ inside and beyond our informants’ domestic environments offers the possibility of more nuanced and critical forms of knowledge, and allows us to make decisions based on such understandings while still conducting fieldwork.