“Where are you from?”: Researching about diversity as both an insider and outsider in Indonesia

25th October 2018 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Qualitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Tracey Harjatanaya (DPhil Student, Department of Education)

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room B

Convener: Ashmita Randhawa (DPhil Student, Department of Education)

Drawing from personal experience in conducting doctoral research in multicultural Indonesia, in this session I discuss the importance of considering researcher’s positionality and identity, especially when conducting qualitative research.

The research which explores the accommodation and teaching of diversity in Indonesian schools makes my identity a highly relevant factor in researcher-participant interactions. I specifically explore the potential and challenges of conducting ‘sensitive’ research as a triple minority (non-Muslim, Chinese and woman) at the time of heightened ethnic and religious tension. In doing so, I continuously reflect on the dual ‘insider-outsider’ identity dynamics and how this might have shaped the research design and findings as well as the reporting of those findings. Overall, I have found that my racial, ethnic, gender and religious backgrounds were negotiated during the interactions and simultaneously how participants negotiated the different and shared backgrounds through identity-related questions they asked. In agreement with Törngren & Ngeh (2018), I argue that the demarcation of boundaries of the different identities is fluid, where the assignment of various categories to oneself is a result of daily interactions (Hatoss, 2012) and situational contexts (Sin, 2007). It is thus crucial to practice reflexivity throughout the research process to ensure quality research.