You ever have that itching feeling that when someone says that the right of free speech means you can say anything? You feel that there is something wrong with this statement. Well, I have figured out why. The problem is that often these people don’t really take responsibility for what they say. They shout out some insulting or problematic statements, and don’t really mind about the consequences. I read some of the articles for our last presentation for postmodern approaches, and one of them was about the responsibility of research writers. I talked a little bit about the power of the researcher before (see previous blog), but I wanted to elaborate on the responsibility aspect a bit more. Basically, if you assume that reality is constructed by language and acts, than any knowledge claim you make to some extent also constructs that reality. This means you have to be conscious about the knowledge claims you make. According to Rhodes and Brown this means that you incorporate reflexivity in both the process and product of writing.
This is also why they plead for the use of fiction as a form of research writing. It does not claim to be factual, and therefore recognizes that the research writing is in some way always fictional. As they say it: ‘if you don’t recognize that writing constructs the reality, you are being irresponsible’ (Rhodes & Brown, 2005:476). Can you then still write about others? Yes you can, for example by using fiction but in any case by writing responsibly and ethically. You need to make strange what is familiar, lay bear assumptions that are accompanied by putting research subjects into categories. It also important to embrace multiple sets of responsibilities to varied constituencies. This ties in to the issue of polyvocality that we dealt with before.
Well, this was just a quick reaction from me after reading this text. It’s time to do some sports, so I’ll leave you guys to reflect on your responsibilities as a person who writes texts, because this does not only apply to researchers!