Accepted Paper:

Participant observation and interview - the dialogue between two methods and two people, mediated by a machine.  

Author:

Dorota Szawarska (SOAS)

Paper short abstract:

The differences between what is said during the interview, and what is said and practiced outside of it, given time, may add nuance to one’s understanding of the problems and people studied. It may also add another dimension in terms of research ethics, in how what people reveal outside of the context of a focused interview, which disciplines their performance of self, is to be used in how they are portrayed.

Paper long abstract:

Using my fieldwork among Sakhalin Korean repatriates as a case study, I examine the relation between the interview and long term participant observation. I argue that recorded interviews can be useful not only in terms of narratives and data directly recorded during the interview, but also in the periods of fieldwork that follow. What matters is not only how people create themselves as subjects during the interview, but what is said immediately after and during months following it. What people choose to reveal during the recorded interview and what they choose to reveal only when the voice recorder is switched off, not only combines to give a fuller impression of a given context, but inspires further lines of inquiry. The performance of self that takes place during the interview, is at the same time a form of creation of one's image for the benefit of both the interviewer and the interviewee. The differences between what is said during the interview, and what is said and practiced outside of it, given time, may add nuance to one's understanding of the problems and people studied. It may also add another dimension in terms of research ethics, in how what people reveal outside of the context of a focused interview, which disciplines their performance of self, is to be used in how they are portrayed.

Panel P05
The subject(ivity) of the interview: performance and construction in anthropology and sociology