Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 6, No 2 (2011)

Claiming the Researcher’s Identity: Anthropological Research and Politicized Religion

Martijn de Koning, Edien Bartels, Daniëlle Koning
Issued Date: 4 Apr 2012


In this chapter we will discuss the consequences for doing research in the case of a topic and field that has become subject to intense public debate. In three cases involving research on Islam and Muslims we will take up questions pertaining to inter-subjectivity, and show how research on public issues, the relation between the worldviews of informants and those of the researcher, and processes of inclusion and exclusion during fieldwork are influenced by the politicization of Islam. We show how sudden changes in the societal context influence local identifications and allegiances. In our cases these changes produced a politicization of the field which, in turn led to the construction of the researchers as ‘natives’ by the informants. We argue that a reflection on this construction is necessary in order to better analyse processes of signification among informants and render a more adequate representation of the researched.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v6i2.168

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