"Oh! Iben's Here Now, So We Better Behave Properly"—The Production of Class as Morality in Research Encounters

Keywords: class, moral, ethnographic fieldwork, research encounters, parenting, mothering, home-school relations

Abstract

This article is a study of how class is produced in research encounters as matters of morality. I engage various class perspectives, arguing that class today occurs in subtle ways, being lived as judgments and struggles around moral authorization. I draw on my experiences during six months of ethnographic fieldwork among ethnic Danish middle- and working-class parents when involved in their six-year-old children's start in the final preschool class. In light of my methodological problems with establishing trustful relations with the participants, I argue that I was being interpreted as a judge with a mandate to pass moral judgments on the parents. While this interpretation was common among the participants, they positioned themselves in three radically different ways towards the researcher and "judge": "eager to get a positive judgment," "in the same boat" and "refusing to get judged." This, I argue, reflects contours of class relations in contemporary, neoliberal societies. I also call for acknowledgment of how the power relations embedded in social, qualitative research are often matters of class. Further, I argue that in a broader methodological perspective, we also need to recognize and investigate the classed dimensions of social research to enhance our understanding of the processes involved in qualitative studies.

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Author Biography

Iben Charlotte Aamann, Roskilde University

Iben Charlotte AAMANN is a PhD Fellow at the Research Center for Health Promotion, Department of People and Technology, at Roskilde University in Denmark. She holds a master degree in Danish and gender studies from Copenhagen University (2008). Her main research interests are within the field of critical health promotion studies, parenting culture studies and social theories concerning gender and class.

Published
2017-07-25
How to Cite
Aamann, I. C. (2017). "Oh! Iben’s Here Now, So We Better Behave Properly"—The Production of Class as Morality in Research Encounters. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.3.2752
Section
Single Contributions