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Imagining the other? Ethical challenges of researching and writing women’s embodied lives

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Title: Imagining the other? Ethical challenges of researching and writing women’s embodied lives
Author: Rice, Carla
Abstract: Feminists influenced by post-conventional and critical perspectives confront a significant challenge when researching women’s embodiments: the dilemma of representation. For researchers from positions of bodily privilege, issues of interpretation intensify when researching and writing across physical differences distorted by colonial and other hegemonic histories and legacies. In this article, I draw from interviews with diversely embodied women to discuss difficulties encountered in interpreting their narratives of embodiment. I reflect on strategies of embodied engagement, including de-centring my bodily self, re-visiting my body story, and imagining the other’s embodied experiences in the creation of provisional meanings about participants’ bodies and lives. To shed light on risks and rewards of researcher- embodied reflexivity to study sensitive subjects such as appearance and difference, I show how analysing my ‘body secrets’ invites deeper exploration into dynamics of bodily privilege and abjection underpinning women’s accounts. I conclude by questioning the ethics of my ‘imaginative leap’ into other/ed women’s lives and by considering more broadly the perils and possibilities of traversing the space between self and other, and other in the self, within feminist research.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/17777
Date: 2009-05-01
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Citation: Rice, C. (2009). Imagining the other? Ethical challenges of researching and writing women’s embodied lives. Feminism & Psychology, 19(2): 245–266. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0959353509102222


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