Gender and Linguistic Fieldwork Abstract
Insider-Outsider Identities and Gender in Fieldwork in India
Virginia Grover, Birkbeck (University of London)
This presentation is about the ways in which gender is tied up in insider-outsider perspectives and identities in two cases of fieldwork in the same part of India. The presenter, an American, participated as a guest observer in 2012 in her non-resident Indian husband’s doctoral field research into microfinance institutions in Gujarat, western India. The presentation will then turn to her own experiences doing sociolinguistic fieldwork last fall for her PhD in the same region of India, where they had lived since 2009. The presentation addresses questions of societal roles for men and women in India - in interactions, in the home and while doing research. It explores the degree to which we as insiders, outsiders or both conform to these roles and why (or why not). It looks at how these roles and associated expectations impact our behaviors as researchers, our access to participants and institutions, and our ability interrogate the stereotypes we face and harbor.