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The micro-politics of emotions in legal space: an autoethnography about sexual violence and displacement in Norway

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This article is an autoethnography of fieldwork carried out as part of a research project about the legal processing of rape cases in Norway. The author observed 15 rape trials and interviewed ten defense lawyers. During this fieldwork, the author repeatedly experienced the shortcomings of conventional fieldwork methodology as she tried to build rapport with defense lawyers. By examining ‘out of place’ emotions like embarrassment, shame and isolation, the author seeks to map the social world that is ‘filtered’ through the relations between researcher and researched. Using a feminist interactionist approach to analyzing ‘educational moments’ in field encounters characterized by participant’s resistance or dominance, this article asks how reflection on the researcher’s feelings and experiences (emotional reflexivity) can contribute to an understanding of the micro-politics of gender and power in the field.
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Keywords: Autoethnography; elite research; emotional reflexivity; feminist research methodologies; sexual violence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Gender Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: October 3, 2018

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