White Bodies in Postcolonial Ethnographic Research

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Abstract

This chapter presents an inquiry of the positions and interactions of white ethnographers and research participants in ethnographic fieldwork. Doing ethnographic research in a postcolonial setting conducted by white researchers, it is impossible to erase a white researcher body, which in itself is a marker of politics, privileges, and resources. This chapter draws on ethnographic experiences from a study of the Greenlandic Police Force conducted by two white (assumed Danish) researchers. As Greenland is a former Danish colony, the chapter describes and discusses the researchers’ ethnographic journey into the colonial past (and neocolonial present) of Greenland, considering how the researchers’ own bodies influenced – and were influenced by – the research process. Analyzing our ethnographic field data with this in mind, we explore how our whiteness (and thus assumed “Danishness”) influences and affects relations between researchers and participants, and hence, the data and insights generated from this research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Organizational Diversity Research Methods
EditorsSine Nørholm Just, Annette Risberg, Florence Villesèche
Number of pages14
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date2020
Pages36-49
Chapter4
ISBN (Print)9780367211486
ISBN (Electronic)9780429265716
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Cite this

Holck, L., & Muhr, S. L. (2020). White Bodies in Postcolonial Ethnographic Research. In S. N. Just, A. Risberg, & F. Villesèche (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Organizational Diversity Research Methods (pp. 36-49). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429265716-5