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Personality: a new positionality?

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Over the past two decades there has been much focus across the social sciences and humanities on issues of positionality. However, in this literature the related issue of personality has not been a consideration despite its profound ability to shape both the research process and product. This paper draws on the wide body of literature on positionality as well as the work of psychologists concerned with understanding personality and emotional intelligence. Through discussion of my fieldwork experiences in Indonesia, I will illustrate some of the limitations of how positionality has been discussed and make a case for further attention to be paid to how personality affects the process of field research and, by extension, the production of knowledge.

Keywords: Indonesia; fieldwork; knowledge production; personality; positionality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Block AS2, 1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2008


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