Researching Retired Ex-Servicemen: Reflections on Ethnographic Encounters

Williams, Rachel, Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Hockey, John C ORCID: 0000-0002-5826-8005 (2021) Researching Retired Ex-Servicemen: Reflections on Ethnographic Encounters. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 13 (3). pp. 375-389. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2020.1713204

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The opportunities and challenges that younger, female, civilian researchers can encounter when undertaking ethnographic research with predominantly male military veterans are relatively underexplored sociologically. This is despite a growing literature on reflexivity in military studies over the past decade. To address this gap, we draw on symbolic interactionist insights to examine the reflective account of a British, female researcher in her mid-20s, who conducted qualitative research with 20 ‘older’ (aged 60+) retired servicemen from the Royal British Legion, a United Kingdom charity providing support for military veterans and their families. The study explored ex-servicemen’s embodied experiences of physical activity. The findings presented here cohere around four salient themes identified in the ethnographic reflections: (1) researcher positionality as a young, female, civilian researcher in a traditionally masculine militarised world; (2) managing distressing topics and interactional discomfort; (3) maintaining an ‘ethic of care’; and (4) dilemmas regarding representational issues and ex-servicemen’s embodied experiences.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnographic research; Military veterans; Ex-servicemen; Physical activity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 15:37
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2021 09:45

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