Accepted Paper:

Researching gender-based violence amongst Iranians in the UK and Iran: the conflictual nature of the insider/outsider status  


Nadia Aghtaie (University of Bristol)

Paper short abstract:

Looking at the attitudes of Iranian students to gender-based violence in Iran and the UK, this paper challenges the dichotomy of insider or outsider status. It shows the fluidity of one’s position with a focus on the ideological and political positioning of either the researcher or the ‘researched’.

Paper long abstract:

While researching the attitudes of Iranian students to gender based violence in Iran and the UK, my position in relation to the concepts of 'outsider' and 'insider' was not static and fixed. Due to various intersecting factors such as gender, location, socio-economic status, 'visibility' of ideological and political positioning and immigration status, I was never fully an outsider or an insider. Being in tune with the context and aware of one's culture, fluency in the language can certainly help the researchers to bridge the gaps and become accepted in the field. While having these common grounds might help to locate one with research participants, the 'insider' can also be the outsider due to factors such as gender and the ideological and political positioning of either the researcher or the 'researched'. The dichotomy created by the Iranian State as 'us' and 'them' based on people's acceptance of the State gender ideology and the potential consequences of challenging the State's norms may hold back some participants from making comments about socio/religious and political issues or it might allow further access to their perspectives based on the perceived positionality of the researcher by the participants. Considering that the above issues could have an impact on the research process from recruitment, data gathering to translation and interpretation, understanding of these processes could be an important contribution to a wider anthropological discussion.

Panel P110
Researching gendered lives in Iran: methodological and ethical challenges