Ethical Considerations in Biographical Research on Vulnerable People
The problem is that the terms ‘poor’ and ‘socially excluded’ is perceived as humiliating and stigmatizing by people in temporary or prolonged difficulties (Walker 2014) and research participants are reluctant to identify themselves as ‘poor’(Fahmy, Pemberton, 2012). In the same time, social scientists are using poverty objectification language in all quantitative research and also in many qualitative research.
At first, ethical issues addressed by students involved in interviewing will be analyzed (for instance, how to explain research aim and interview purpose without injuring dignity of potential research participants) and at second, the challenge to write about personal experiences of vulnerable narrators avoiding poverty objectification language and further discursive marginalization of research participants (for instance, how to relate to body of texts exploring poverty and social exclusion and in the same time not reproducing dominant discourse of poverty objectification). There is few excellent examples of ethical writing on subjective experiences of poverty in English, but not in Latvian - it was very difficult to find a different discourse in Latvian in the discussion about the experiences of living with limited resources and long-term accumulation of difficulties.