Conducting “dirty research” with extreme groups: understanding academia as a dirty work site

Sanders-McDonagh, Erin (2014) Conducting “dirty research” with extreme groups: understanding academia as a dirty work site. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 9 (3) . pp. 241-253. ISSN 1746-5648 [Article] (doi:10.1108/QROM-01-2013-1131)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore dirty work sites within an academic context.Working with particular “unloved” groups (Fielding, 1993) can present a number of challenges to researchers, and if professional boundaries are not carefully maintained, researchers can be seen as “dirty workers” within an academic context.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws a qualitative research project that explores women’s involvement with nationalist movements in the UK.

Findings – Researching “unloved” groups, and in particular racist organizations, presents a number of potential emotional and professional, and can render researchers “dirty workers” if clear professional boundaries are not maintained.

Originality/value – Examining academia and some academic research as a dirty work site adds to existing literature (Kreiner et al., 2006) that suggests any occupation can have a “dirty work” element that must be negotiated. This paper presents new challenges for managing spoiled “dirty” identities, and suggests that identity management is context-specific.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Doing Dirty Research
Keywords (uncontrolled): Racism, Risk, Identity work, Dirty work, Extremism, Far-right
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 17352
Depositing User: Erin Sanders-Mcdonagh
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2015 08:59
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 18:34

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