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International Journal of Sociology and Humanities

Vol. 4, Issue 1, Part A (2022)

Feminist research and fieldwork methodology


S Maya


The topic of the present paper is conducting feminist research in South Asia and the way politics works in this process. It is specifically based on the experiences of empirical work done in Kerala, the southernmost state in India, which is unique in being one of the only two states with a strong communist movement. In addition, the numerous religions, castes, and communities of the Kerala region can be profitably analyzed in connection with the policies of the Left, emerging feminist movements, and mechanisms of power. As an indigenous, feminist activist and researcher, I have been working with a Western feminist scholar who is also a university professor, in a project concerning marriage and inheritance in Kerala in the twentieth century. The project is based on various archival materials, as well as interviews with families of different classes and communities, politicians, and religious leaders. The purpose of the paper is to elaborate upon methodological experiences gained from my collaboration as a research assistant for the Western scholar. Specifically, I wish to explore the way power, as based on gender, ethnicity, generation, and the researcher’s position in society, operated when data was collected and interviews carried out. The main thesis of my study is that, through our cooperation, we managed to overcome difficulties that each of us, working alone, would not have been able to surmount. Our production of “knowledge” must be seen in the light of the complex political and cultural power relations prevailing in Kerala, as well as of our own position in society and the role we each played within the research project itself.

Pages: 1-4  |  768 Views  335 Downloads

International Journal of Sociology and Humanities
How to cite this article:
S Maya. Feminist research and fieldwork methodology. Int. J. Sociol. Humanit. 2022;4(1):1-4. DOI: 10.33545/26648679.2022.v4.i1a.26
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