A political investment: revisiting race and racism in the research process

Rollock, Nicola. 2013. A political investment: revisiting race and racism in the research process. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34(4), pp. 492-509. ISSN 0159-6306 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper draws upon a two-year Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded study into the educational strategies of the black middle classes to examine the role of race and racism in the research process. Specifically, it explores how my political positioning and experiences of racism, as a black female scholar, shaped not only my engagement with the research but also how I was perceived and positioned by others. This is analysed in terms of three areas: the recruitment and identification of research participants, the interview process and the dissemination of the project findings. While consideration of the researcher's race and racial politics tended to run parallel to or quietly intersect with the project development, fieldwork and analysis, it is argued that these factors, in actuality, play a significant and highly informative role in shaping a broader, nuanced conceptualisation of race and racism that is too often silenced and neglected in race research and the academy as a whole. Informed by Fanon and Critical Race Theory, it is posited that these seemingly peripheral race moments need to be foregrounded, named and analysed not just by scholars of colour but also by white colleagues electing to do race research. Such call to action remains fundamental within a wider socio-political context that increasingly is devoid of meaningful engagement with race and racism.

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Additional Information:

Economic & Social Research Council Project Reference RES-062-23-1880.


Critical Race Theory, whiteness, Fanon, race consciousness, race matching, methodology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


16 August 2013Published Online

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Date Deposited:

26 Jun 2018 11:31

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2018 11:31

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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