22 November 2019
The SHaME Research Hub is pleased to hold its second reading group of the term. Led by PhD Candidate and SHaME researcher, Emma Yapp, this reading group will address the ethical challenges of conducting research with survivors of sexual violence.
22 November 2019, 1-2pm
Room 102, Clore Management Centre
Birkbeck, University of London
Western codes of ethics are arguably founded on a biomedical model of research, and have largely been influenced by deontological theories. The idea that ethical dilemmas can be solved in a static and standardised way raises problems for feminist researchers, where principles of: honesty, empowerment, bearing witness to silenced voices, and mitigating the participant-researcher power dynamic are central. Problematising these tensions is an essential aspect of our research practice.
In this session, we will discuss the ethical mess of conducting research with survivors of sexual violence. The session will begin with a short presentation of the following texts:
-Downes, J., Kelly, L., & Westmarland, N. (2014). Ethics in violence and abuse research-a positive empowerment approach. Sociological Research Online, 19(1), 1-13.
-Thwaites, R. (2017). (Re) Examining the Feminist Interview: Rapport, Gender “Matching,” and Emotional Labour. Frontiers in Sociology, 2(18), 1-9.
The two texts raise important questions, including:
• Are agentive (e.g. virtue ethics) or situational theories of ethics more compatible with feminist research practice than rules-based theories (e.g. deontology)?
• Can survivors of sexual violence be conceptualised as “vulnerable”? What is the permanence and experience of such a label?
• How does conceptualising people in terms of “risk” affect their experience of the research process?
• How do we choose to refer to “victims”, “survivors”, or “women subjected to sexual violence” in feminist research (and why)?
• Is the feminist interview an unattainable ideal?
• How do ideas about professionalism, emotions, and class come into play in the sexual violence research process? Can they be effectively mitigated?
For those interested in further readings about this topic, a bibliography will be provided as well.
Tea and coffee will be provided. You are invited to bring your own lunch if you like.
Fore more details, including the readings and bibliography, and to register your attendance, please email Emma Yapp at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday the 20th of November.