‘Healing’ through the Arts: Notes on Methods and the Researcher’s Dilemma

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Nayanee BASU, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
The paper attempts to look at how narrative interview and the ethnographic method of participant observation contribute to discern the reality of the field in qualitative sociological research as well as give rise to dilemma for the sociologist in creating a Rashoman effect when representing social phenomena that span across the level of the individual and that of the larger collective process as each remain enmeshed in the other. This is experienced while conducting a field-based research in West Bengal, eastern India where certain artist-activists belonging to the civil society enter into long-term workshop relationship with inmates of prisons and with survivors of (and those belonging to sections economically and socially vulnerable to) human trafficking. Digitally recorded on-site data from interviews, with both the artist-activists and their beneficiaries within select prisons and in the space of an NGO working with rehabilitation through art training of survivors and people vulnerable to trafficking, and field observational notes, form the primary data. Questions of interpretation of such data is deeply embedded in the relationship that these two data-collection methods have with each other and this is what I try to present through a discussion of the complexities that confront the researcher.