This paper is about care, insider positions and mothering within feminist research. We ask questions about how honest, ethical and caring can we really be in placing the self into the research process as mothers ourselves. Should we leave out aspects of the research that do not fit neatly and how ethical can we claim to be if we do? Moreover, should difficult differences, secrets and silences that emerge from the research process and research stories that might ‘out’ us as failures be excluded from research outcomes so as to claim legitimate research? We consider the use of a feminist methods as crucial in the reciprocal and relational understanding of personal enquiry. Mothers invest significant emotional capital in their families and we explore the blurring of the interpersonal and intrapersonal when sharing mothering experiences common to both participant and researcher. Indeed participants can identify themselves within the process as ‘friends’ of the researcher. We both have familiarity within our respective research that has led to mutual understanding of having insider positions. Crucially individuals’ realities are a vital component of the qualitative paradigm and that ‘insider’ research remains a necessary, albeit messy vehicle in social research. As it is we consider a growing body of literature which marks out and endorses a feminist ethics of care. All of which critique established ways of thinking about ethics, morality, security, citizenship and care. It provides alternatives in mapping private and public aspects of social life as it operates at a theoretical level, but importantly for this paper also at the level of practical application.
- Care Ethics