Reflecting on my involvement with Larvatus Prodeo leads into two areas:
- A need to classify blog entries - key word or some system for eg primary research results and updates vs discourse analysis, reflections and theory.
- A need to look closely at the ethics of my involvement as researcher and participant
The second point arises because in my original ethics application I hadn't really considered the ethics of discourse analysis in detail, let alone the ethics of discourse analysis as a researcher when one is participating in a blog, while simultaneously researching it as a field for discourse analysis.
It raises a lot of questions, which can be summed up as a being on a continuum varying between, at one extreme, the so-called 'objective' researcher, who from a place of safety observes the interactions of people as unknowing subjects, to the other extreme where the researcher is like a kind of agent provocateur stimulating debate ( which may be heated and deeply felt) and then retiring and analyzing it. Neither of these seems entirely comfortable positions ethically. My previous post seems uncomfortably close to the latter.
Updating this afternoon -
There probably is not a lot more to say except to acknowledge that I now see some ethical issues in talking about women 'policing' other women. It is true that the site I was discussing is one in which primary 'ownership' is held by a man, who does most of the posting, while enforcing of the rules appears to be mainly done by women, who don't seem to do much posting (on that site). Nevertheless I recognise and acknowledge that the lived experience of those individuals is much more complex and nuanced than this summary might suggest.
Similarly I acknowledge that in reproaching or getting angry with me, women on that site, as one said, may be reacting not to the content of what I said, but to the way I said it. I am not always tactful or perceptive in the way I say things and I apologise for hurt that I have caused by that.
I will let my previous post stand, but invite anyone who wants to put a different perspective to make a comment - or to make a guest post here if interested.
Regarding future discourse analysis of left wing (or any other) blogs, I don't intend to move right back to the 'detached observer' position, because I think that is ethically problematic also, but I do intend to move back from the 'emotionally engaged participant' position.
This post is classified:
Feminism - theory and practice
Ethics and methodology