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Researcher identity : exploring the transformatory power of the research experience

Hamilton, Kathy and Dunnett, Susan and Downey, Hilary (2012) Researcher identity : exploring the transformatory power of the research experience. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11 (4). pp. 275-282. ISSN 1472-0817

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Abstract

In consumer research we frequently focus on the phenomenon of transformation; be that the transformatory effects of a particular consumption community or the great body of work being carried out under the banner of Transformative Consumer Research. However there is a particular transformation which occurs in the field of interpretivist consumer research that, we would argue, is overlooked – that of researcher transformation. We present as data our reflexive considerations on the ways in which our own research with vulnerable consumers has affected and changed us. We consider short term transformations in the field, reflecting on the various ways that researcher identity is carefully managed and negotiated to fit with the social-cultural setting. We also consider longer term transformations and discuss the enduring impact of the research process – the people we have met, the homes we have visited and the stories we have heard. By reflecting on the shaping of identities ‘in the field’ we aim to deepen our appreciation of the interpretive consumer research process and contribute to theoretical understanding of transformative identity research.