Positioning and subjectivation in research interviews: why bother talking to a researcher?





International Journal of Social Research Methodology;


Taylor & Francis



Qualitative research interviews constitute specific contexts for creating and telling stories. This study illuminates the significance of the research interview on the subjectivation of participants who are usually rendered problematic or victimized – in this case, young people who live in residential care provided by child protection services (CPS). It explores how the interview situation offers possible subject positions for the interviewees that contradict with how they are positioned in their daily lives. In contrast to the conversations, these young people often engage in with professionals, the research interview may position them as competent actors. It may also allow for a greater degree of complexity, ambiguity, and ambivalence. When the aim is not necessarily to acquire an understanding of how things ‘really are,’ or to describe the participants in categorical ways, the variety and diversity of life may be speakable. This in turn allows for the telling of new narratives, the prospect of other subjectivities and the creation of new developmental possibilities.



This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Jansen, A. (2013). Positioning and subjectivation in research interviews: why bother talking to a researcher?. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, (ahead-of-print), 1-13. [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2013.845711

Permanent URL

  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/1971