Behind the scenes: reflecting on cross-gender interview dynamics in Mexico City

Mariana Rios Sandoval

Abstract


During the summer of 2007 I set out on a qualitative exploratory study in Mexico City that later became a masters dissertation. The study was focused on conversations with a group of men about everyday practices, expectations, ideas and feelings related to parenting, and this was an entry point into exploring constructions of fatherhood and masculinity. As I stumbled through my first in-depth interviews I felt excited, thrilled and touched, but also uneasy, overwhelmed and undeniably puzzled by a whole range of dilemmas that appeared to emerge every time I so much as stopped to think about the course of my research. The six weeks of fieldwork were a truly formative experience. An experience that made me reflect for long hours about the ethics and politics of the research process. I came to recognise that ultimately, the picture of fatherhood drawn in my study was to a certain extent negotiated with the participants, shaped by our interaction and informed by personal backgrounds, expectations, emotions and lived experiences. I believe that reflecting on this aspect of the ethnographic encounter along with communicating those reflections constitute a fundamental part of the learning exercise. The latter is precisely the purpose of the present article: communicating such reflections.

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Anthropology Matters Journal ISSN: 17586453 Publisher: Anthropology Matters url: www.anthropologymatters.com