Introduction: Intimacy in Research

Fraser, Mariam and Puwar, Nirmal. 2008. Introduction: Intimacy in Research. History of the Human Sciences, 21(4), pp. 1-16. ISSN 1461720X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The introduction to this special issue addresses the production of intimacy in the labour of research. It explores the sensory, emotional and affective relations which form an integral, if often invisible, part of the process through which researchers engage with, produce, understand and translate `research'. The article argues that these processes inform the making of knowledge, shape power relations and enable or constrain the practical negotiation of ethical problems. These issues are not, however, often foregrounded in debates on methods or methodology and are frequently erased from researchers' own accounts of their work. The article explores some of the possible reasons for this, which include institutional and cultural conventions of academic practice, the historical legacies with which disciplines often struggle, and the difficult issues and decisions that individual researchers face as they try to negotiate the relations between scholarly research and personal relationships across time, and between scholarly research and, for example, creativity, fiction, or sensationalism. The article concludes with a review of the main themes in the special issue, focusing in particular on the ways in which the contributors use the concept of intimacy to challenge the boundaries between creativity and analysis; spatial and temporal proximity and distance; freedom and censorship; subjects and objects.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


ethics, intimacy, methodology, methods, research, art, social science, ethical

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


November 2008Published

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Date Deposited:

28 May 2009 09:54

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 12:17

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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