'She's From Bothy Sike' Challenges to Research and the Experience of Belonging
Sites a journal of social anthropology and cultural studies
All too often, we see what we expect to see and it is easy to miss what we are not looking for. Using a personal narrative approach, this paper reflexively explores the unexpected opportunities that research challenges can raise. The following experience forms part of a broader ethnographic project concerned with the performance of belonging and community in rural villages. Challenged by limited research funding, I chose to reduce my costs by volunteering at a nearby youth hostel in exchange
... stel in exchange for accommodation. I soon realized that I was seen to belong to the hostel community, not only by my fellow workers, but also by residents of the nearby villages. I reflect on how staff at the hostel formed and maintained a bounded community and a sense of belonging through the use of ritual, humour, and communal storytelling. Ultimately, this paper proposes that researchers embrace research challenges and be open to the unexpected advantages and experiences they can provide.