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Author:Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta (Jönköping University, Sweden)
Paper short abstract:
This paper presents the problem of disciplining the undisciplined nature of the work of naming people in Swedish spaces. It aims to trouble the simplistic non-naming stance pushed by society and accepted (for the most) by researchers. Its agenda lies in the epistemological task of scholarship.
Paper long abstract:
The research conducted on Saami indigenous groups at the Swedish State Race Institute of Race Biology founded in 1921 and the Vipeholm experiments conducted on intellectually disabled people during 1945-55 have been condemned as being ethically dubious and have contributed to the establishment of rules that regulate practices within and outside of research. For instance, rules and praxis have been setup that discourage calling attention to human identity categories in the public realm. Thus, while gender categorizations are encouraged in research and in institutional work, naming practices that involve race and functional disabilities are frowned upon or not allowed at all. This paper draws upon ethnographic fieldwork across time (2008-2018) and institutional settings in different projects where the recurring issue of the work of naming identities emerged as salient. The paper presents the problem of disciplining the undisciplined nature of the work of naming people in Swedish spaces. It also presents insights regarding how researchers, public institutions like schools and governmental bodies, and private agencies like regional theaters navigate, comply, challenge and bend rules related to how people are named. The Swedish concepts ras and döva (English: race & deaf) will be used to illustrate tensions regarding what is sanctioned and how members of different settings deal with identity categorizations. The paper aims to trouble the simplistic non-naming stance pushed by society and (for the most) accepted by researchers. Building on the meaning-making enterprise of human languaging, its agenda lies in the epistemological task of scholarship.
Research at the margins - transgressing rules in sensitive fields? I