Engaging Ethics in Postcritical Ethnography: Troubling Transparency, Trustworthiness, and Advocacy


  • Jessica Nina Lester Indiana University
  • Allison Daniel Anders University of South Carolina




advocacy, ethics, ethics in practice, postcritical ethnography, relational ethics, transparency, trustworthiness


In this article, we engage with some of the ethical challenges we faced during a four-year postcritical ethnography that focused on the resettlement experiences of Burundians with refugee status living in southern Appalachia in the United States.We discuss how we navigated decisions about what and how to share all that we learned, particularly as we sought to protect and honor what participants shared and experienced. Broadly, we frame our decision-making process in relation to the notions of ethics in practice and relational ethics. Notably, we complicate commitments to transparency, trustworthiness, and advocacy, as we examine issues of responsibility and representation. We conclude by offering three considerations or "lessons learned" for qualitative researchers, including the: 1. value of generating a layered account of experience; 2. potentiality of experimental forms of writing, and 3. importance of foregrounding relational ethics.


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Author Biographies

Jessica Nina Lester, Indiana University

Jessica Nina LESTER is an associate professor of inquiry methodology in the School of Education at Indiana University. She teaches qualitative research methods courses and also focuses much of her research on the study and development of qualitative methodologies. Broadly, she locates much of her scholarship at the intersection of critical disability studies and discourse studies.

Allison Daniel Anders, University of South Carolina

Allison Daniel ANDERS is an assistant professor in educational foundations and inquiry in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. She teaches qualitative research methods, sociology of education, critical race theory, and foundations of education, and studies the everyday experiences of targeted youth, contexts of education, and qualitative methodologies.




How to Cite

Lester, J. N., & Anders, A. D. (2018). Engaging Ethics in Postcritical Ethnography: Troubling Transparency, Trustworthiness, and Advocacy. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-19.3.3060



Research Ethics in Qualitative Research