Subjectivity and the “Native” Ethnographer: Researcher Eligibility in an Ethnographic Study of Urban Indian Women in Hindu Arranged Marriages

Devika Chawla

Abstract


In this conversation, the author’s goal is to discuss subjectivity/s as evolving and temporal representational emergences in ethnographic fieldwork. She uses her participation in a narrative ethnographic study of women’s experiences in Hindu arranged marriages to show how her positions traveled and constantly shifted in the years of fieldwork. Ultimately, she shifts focus to her fieldwork and explores the ways in which her co-participants shifted her selves and, in so doing, “represented” their own marital stories. As she does so, she shows herself caught between eligibilities granted to her by her participants and how these shaped what she discerned in the narratives. Her broader goal in enacting these tough yet healthy tensions is to facilitate a dialogue on how the resculpting of the ethnographer shows us the recursive relationship among subjectivity/s, representation, and interpretation.

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