Researching 'Race' and Ethnicity: Methods, Knowledge and Power

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SAGE Publications, Aug 18, 2003 - Social Science - 218 pages
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'Gunaratnam's framework is rich in its examination and synthesis of approaches to the study of "race"... the reward for the reader who does pick up the book is that the author deftly articulates the complicated view of research on "race" first from the quantitative perspective and then skilfully moves the reader to issues of "race" in qualitative research' - Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism

'This is a welcome book for those engaged in policy and empirical work with an active research agenda... there is a level of theoretical sophistication in the text which is often missing from texts concerned with methods in this area' - Race Relations Abstracts

`The particular value of this book to readers lies in the discussion of "race", ethnicity and research issues within a political and social context. The author states her intention to explore some of the theoretical and practical dilemmas of researching "race" and ethnicity. This is, without question, achieved. I recommend it as essential reading for those concerned with increasing their awareness of issues relating to race, ethnicity and research practice' - Nurse Researcher

'This is a thought-provoking and challenging book which demonstrated the fractured and fluid nature of difference and power in the research process. Importantly it offers a guide to the ways in which research can be effectively and productively used in challenging the status quo' - Diversity in Health and Social Care

Researching `Race' and Ethnicity provides an innovative discussion of the methodological, epistemological and ethical challenges of doing qualitative research that is informed by questions of `race', ethnicity and social difference. By identifying and challenging `categorical thinking' and many longstanding assumptions about the meanings of `race' and ethnicity, the author gets to the heart of many of the everyday dilemmas and difficulties that researchers confront in the field, but are rarely theorised or openly discussed.

Yasmin Gunaratnam's insistence that `race' and ethnicity are a significant part of all qualitative research, and are not the `specialist' concerns of those whose work is explicitly focussed upon `race', provokes a radical rethinking of current methological debates. How do racial and ethnic categories inform our approaches to research? How does the racialised indentity of the researcher and the research participants affect the research interaction and the knowledge that we produce? What are the assumptions that are made about racialised subjectivity and inter-subjectivity? How can we make sense of accounts in which `race' and ethnicity are silent or are non-manifest? How can we work ethically across difference?

In examining these and other questions, the wide-ranging discussions in the book are animated by examples drawn from the author's ethnographic research with white and minoritized research participants. Through these examples readers will be able to engage with some of the complexities of research relationships, power relations and ethical concerns about engagement, disconnection and complicity in research. The attention that the book gives to the excluded experiences of minoritized researchers will be of particular value to many readers.

Researching `Race' and Ethnicity is essential reading for students and academics in the social sciences.

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About the author (2003)

I joined the Department in 2008. Before that I was involved in research, teaching and training in Higher Education and in the voluntary sector. I have worked for the Open University, Southampton University and the University of Central Lancashire. My undergraduate degree in sociology is from the London School of Economics, where I also completed my PhD (Department of Social Policy). I am particularly interested in knowledge transfer and participative methodologies as they relate to both research and teaching (giving recognition to what we learn and how from students and colleagues).

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