This chapter explores the issue of reflexivity and researcher identity, particularly in relation to the insider/outsider dichotomy in qualitative research. It is important to acknowledge that researcher’s positions are not always stable, nor are they categorised purely by insider/outsider terms: there is a ‘space between’ insider/outsider research (Dwyer and Buckle 2009) and ‘fluidity’ to a researcher’s identity (Thomson and Gunter 2011). This chapter uses my experience of conducting research on an organisation that I worked for, a police force in England and Wales. In some respects, as an employee within the force I held an ‘insider’ status. However, as a member of police staff, and not a police officer, I did not share the same subcultural bonds as those I researched and was therefore also an ‘outsider’. I argue that the reflexive praxis of a ‘two-way street’ whereby there is a mutual and continuous affect between the researcher and the researched (Alvesson and Sköldberg 2009: 79) may be better imagined as a frequently visited ‘roundabout’ for the insider/outsider researcher: one constantly enters, and often exits, each encounter in the field from different positions. Therefore, the fluidity of identity requires the researcher to constantly note the approach they are taking upon entering this ‘reflexive roundabout’. It not only requires consideration of the ways in which the researcher is shaping the research and the research is shaping the researcher, but also an additional awareness that one’s positionality is affecting the reflexive process itself.
|Title of host publication||Reflexivity and Criminal Justice|
|Subtitle of host publication||intersections of policy, practice and research|
|Editors||Sarah Armstrong, Jarrett Blaustein, Henry Alistair|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|