Power Relations of Men in (Pro)Feminist Research: Two Fieldwork Experiences from Turkey

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Atilla BARUTCU, Bulent Ecevit University, Turkey
This study focuses on how a male researcher who has questioned any kind of identity politics and rejected all kinds of power relations finds himself mostly in such relationships with his male participants during his research studies.

While feminist standpoint theory, which is often used in feminist studies, aims to see the experiences of the researched women by their point of view, it attempts to destroy the “outsider” position of the researcher at the same time. This attempt involves the rejection of researcher's superior position and the act of dominating the group or individuals studied. Can we apply standpoint theory’s approach to methodology to the research contexts in which the research is conducted by a man who adopts (pro)feminist values and who examines men? I focus on this question from the point that the outsider position of the researcher who rejects the privileges of being a man is generally created and enforced by the hegemonic position and domination of the male participants. I argue that the relations of men in the research field which have been progressed with the knowledge and views of men can ensure the continuity of superior position and oppression of participants. With the masculine domination of researched men, fluid positions of researcher and participants can be stabilized in such men-to-men relations. I share the fieldwork experiences I gained in two field studies on two separate male groups, which can be perceived as quite different from each other, namely, men in the coffeehouses in Turkey and (pro)feminist fathers in Turkey. I also show how my fieldwork experiences actually resemble each other in the eye of the researcher and how similar they can be in terms of power relations which are created in the field.