Sensitive Populations and Self-reflexive Methods: Ethnographic Exploration of Race and Racism in Poland
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Publisher:The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with IFiS Publishers
Citation:Ask: Research and Methods. Volume 25, Issue 1 (2016), pp. 47-60
Poland has witnessed a rise in cross-border migration from both within the European Union and from regions around the world. A demographic consequence is biracial families in Poland. A social consequence is that in formerly racially homogenous Poland, racial inequality evolves from a nascent stage experienced by the few to a rapidly developing institution, with biracial families caught in the middle of past and future. In this article I discuss the methodology of a research project on identity strategies of Black African men, White Polish mothers, and biracial children, and the communities that they build. These groups are sensitive populations due to the racism, xenophobia, and discrimination that they face. I discuss (a) how the oral history method can be effective when working with sensitive populations, (b) the ethical and privacy concerns that come with social network snowball sampling and maintaining the anonymity of this population, and (c) how selfreflexive methods offers an honest, straightforward, and effective approach to examine the subjects and communities of my research.