Accepted Paper:

Talking and acting for your rights: the interview in an action research setting  


Ana Lopes (University of East London)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing upon action research with sex workers and sex worker activists, this paper seeks to explore the role of the interview in action research settings.

Paper long abstract:

This paper draws upon action research project in which the ethnographer turned into a participant in and facilitator of a collective effort that led to the unionisation of sex workers in the UK.

I want to explore the way in which the interview in action research contexts can be used as a tool for action planning and generation, as well as 'authentic' data generation. As the ethnographer turns action researcher, she becomes a co-producer or co-generator of knowledge that is relevant for action. What are the ethical issues involved in this relation?

To what extent can the agenda of the interview be appropriated by those being interviewed as a tool to critically understand structures of power and seek social change? Within the action research context, where power relations are challenged and interviewer and interviewees share a practical/political agenda, the interviewer sometimes becomes the interviewee. What happens then? Can the interview in this context be used as a tool for the development of a 'bottom-up' anthropology?

Panel P06
The interview as imagined space: authentic data and the extraordinary occasion