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Accessing All Areas? Interviewing and Researching Within and Outside Difference

Keval, Harshad



This case study is set against the backdrop of field work and research I conducted during my PhD. My doctoral thesis explored the intersections of race, medical sociology, and embodied experiences of health, risk, and ethnicity, later published in a monograph titled Health, Ethnicity and Diabetes: Racialised Constructions of “Risky” South Asian Bodies, with Palgrave Macmillan.

For the research, I carried out interviews, participant observation, and ethnography with British South Asian people in several locations around England. One of the consistent central questions that I found myself both asking and strategically ignoring was “How do I get access to these groups,” in the knowledge that the category “these” both constituted my own current identities and a historical, lived, experiential identity, located in migration, nationality, language, ethno-religious identity, and class.

This case study, therefore, both looks back at my experience of carrying out the research and re-narrates what the access and non-access to people’s cultural lives and worlds come to mean in research. I also attempt to situate the learning from this within a wider framing of the uncertainty that is present in all research. The sense and understanding of connection between researchers and participants should be viewed as an opportunity to embark on a relational understanding of social phenomena and the need to be open to the possibilities of connections between aspects of our identities as processual features of the research.

Online Publication Date Jan 3, 2018
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Feb 27, 2023
Publisher SAGE Publications
Book Title SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
Keywords access areas, diabetes, identity, knowledge, race, religion, type 2 diabetes