Recasting ethical dilemmas in participatory research as a collective matter of ‘response-ability’

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This article investigates ethical dilemmas around new self-realizations as they arise in a research practice of collective memory-work that experiments with articulating personal experiences of how the human gut and psyche connect. Memory-work is a group-based participatory research method, in which participants and researcher write down a personal memory in the third person, read the memory aloud and analyze it collectively. Based on memory-work with a group of women suffering from autoimmune diseases, I analyze how ethical dilemmas about the ‘therapeutics’ and ‘matters of care’ of memory-work configure through the textual objectification of our personal experiences, creating unfamiliar care positions in relation to each other and our past and present selves. In dialogue with feminist science studies scholar Donna Haraway’s concept of response-ability and qualitative research and psychology scholars Svend Brinkmann and Steinar Kvale’s notion of ethical fields of uncertainty, I argue that ethical dilemmas demand ongoing attention, rather than a solution, and that ethical dilemmas can be useful tools for developing capabilities to attune and respond to ethically important moments when discussed among research participants and researcher. Thus, this article empirically recasts ethical dilemmas as a collective concern and seeks to contribute to the fields of STS and psychology by problematizing researcher and participant positions, our responses and capabilities to respond to ethical dilemmas, and the place ethics and response-ability have in participatory research practices.
TidsskriftSTS Encounters - DASTS working paper series
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)89-124
StatusUdgivet - 2021

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