Constructing (Im)Perfect Geographical Knowledge: Negotiating Positionality in Comparative Field Sites

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Positionality has long been at the center of debate on qualitative research and ethnographic field work within and beyond geography. Highly reflective accounts of positionality usually examine the way a researcher’s origins, gender, sexuality, age, religion, race, dis/ability and the intersections of these different aspects influence research encounters, data generated, and narratives produced. In this article, I contribute to this growing debate on positionality by (1) reflecting on the different ways positionality manifests in comparative studies and their implications on the research and knowledge production; and (2) reflecting on how I negotiated my positionality as a researcher originating from the Global South (South Asia), conducting research in two different countries in the South, one my home country, and the other a neighboring country. Both these aspects have received scant attention in the existing works on research methods and comparative studies. The article draws on my doctoral field work conducted in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka using qualitative research methods. This article, in part, is also based on my autobiographical accounts, where I share the experience of my journey from industry to academia.
TidsskriftProfessional Geographer
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)776-786
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 27 Feb 2023.


  • Comparative research
  • Ethnography
  • Failure
  • Positionality
  • Qualitative methods