Positionality, inter-subjectivity and reflexivity in Muslim minority research
Hall, C. Michael; Prayag, Girish; Oh, Youri; Mahdavi, Mahshid Ahdiyeh; Jean, Lim Xin (2023-08-08)
Hall, C. M., Prayag, G., Oh, Y., Mahdavi, M. A., & Xin Jean, L. (2023). Positionality, inter-subjectivity and reflexivity in Muslim minority research. International Journal of Market Research, 65(6), 778-795. https://doi.org/10.1177/14707853231194984
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Drawing substantially on epistemologies developed in the context of vulnerable populations and responding to calls for greater epistemic justice in marketing research, an intersectional framework involving positionality, partiality, reflexivity, and situated knowledges is proposed to reflect on undertaking market research with Muslim minority populations in non-Muslim majority countries. This population is often highly vulnerable due to stigmatisation, Islamophobia and processes of othering that affect Muslim consumer behaviour, practices and identity. The framework is derived from reflexive experiences of market research undertaken by the authors on and with Islamic consumers both on an individual and collective basis and from relevant literature. The framework highlights the relational nature of the research experience and the situatedness and positionality of both the researcher and researched. In the case of research with Muslim populations we also draw out the significance of religious identity, ideology and religiosity; intersectionalities, including gender; and religious and cultural power as framed by cultural and institutional practices and which affect notions of class and attitudes to the other. We propose an approach that helps overcome Muslim/non-Muslim binaries that flatten the lived notions of the Muslim experience and consumption practices and instead provide for a richer and more representative account of Muslim identity. However, this approach also heightens researcher sensitivity to the situatedness of Muslims within social norms and the implications that this has for anonymity.
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