Collaborative Intersectionality: Negotiating Identity, Liminal Spaces, and Ethnographic Research

Brielle Plump, Patricia Geist-Martin
2013 Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies   unpublished
In the early of stages of their fieldwork, most collaborative researchers face the task of defining their roles with each other and with their participants. While their roles may be defined partially by context and previous relationships, negotiating identity for researchers that work in dyads or teams is complicated by their liminal positioning in the field and with each other. Interpersonal liminality, in this case, is experienced by co-researchers who are new-to working with each other, to
more » ... e field site, to their participants , and to the evolving focus of the investigation. During this liminal state, Victor Turner (1969) suggests that we are passengers who separate from our previously more fixed state and enter into a cultural realm where the standards and classifications for how things are accomplished are ambiguous. In the process, co-researchers often find that they experience disorientation as their interactions in the new context may translate to awkwardness, confusion, and even embarrassment. When the identities they have developed outside of the research context (personally and professionally) or in other research contexts are diminished or irrelevant in this new context, co-researchers have to renegotiate their independent and collective roles. They might communicatively foreground identities that suspend, and even reverse hierarchies in Brielle Plump is a graduate student at San Diego State University. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Davis. Her research interests are in health communication and critical-cultural studies. Patricia Geist Martin is a Professor in the School of Communication at San Diego State University where she teaches organizational communication, health communication , ethnographic research methods, and gendering organizational communication. Her research interests focus on narrative and negotiating identity, voice, ideology, & control in organizations, particularly in health and illness. She has published three books, Communicating Health: Personal, Political, and Cultural Complexities (2004) (with Eileen Berlin Ray and Barbara Sharf), Courage of Conviction: Women's Words, Women's Wisdom (1997) (with Linda A. M. Perry), and Negotiating the Crisis: DRGs and the Transformation of Hospitals (1992) (with Monica Hardesty). She has published over 60 articles and book chapters covering a wide range of topics related to gender, health, and negotiating identities.