‘Reflexivities of discomfort’: Researching the sex trade and sex trafficking in Ireland

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Abstract:

Abstract
This article theorizes a research process in a highly politicized environment in which 
we, as feminist researchers, found ourselves standing outside the feminist standpoint 
which dominated Irish public discourse, viz advocacy of a Swedish-style, neo-abolitionist, 
prostitution policy. We suggest that our increasing personal and intellectual discomfort 
as that policy position gained support contained valuable epistemic insight. We theorize 
this principally by drawing on Pillow’s concept of ‘reflexivities of discomfort’. This article 
offers an account of the messy dynamics of a research process in which we, in time, 
recognized our own psychosocial worlds as sites of social critique. We contribute to 
debates about reflexivity by exploring the insights which this approach brought when 
applied to the dynamics of power politics between us as researchers and the wider 
policy field within which we were immersed.Abstract

This article theorizes a research process in a highly politicized environment in which we, as feminist researchers, found ourselves standing outside the feminist standpoint which dominated Irish public discourse, viz advocacy of a Swedish-style, neo-abolitionist, prostitution policy. We suggest that our increasing personal and intellectual discomfort as that policy position gained support contained valuable epistemic insight. We theorize this principally by drawing on Pillow’s concept of ‘reflexivities of discomfort’. This article offers an account of the messy dynamics of a research process in which we, in time, recognized our own psychosocial worlds as sites of social critique. We contribute to debates about reflexivity by exploring the insights which this approach brought when applied to the dynamics of power politics between us as researchers and the wider policy field within which we were immersed.

Source: European Journal of Women’s Studies, Volume 21, Issue 3, August 2014. Published online before print 16 January, 2014. 

Author(s):Eilís Ward and Gillian Wylie
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Publication Date:16 Jan 2014
Geographic Focus:Ireland
URL:http://ejw.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/01/07/1350506813518759.abstract?papetoc
ISBN:null
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