Being foreign, female and white: Implications for cross-cultural research in Aceh, Indonesia
Elliott, C, Being foreign, female and white: Implications for cross-cultural research in Aceh, Indonesia, School of Geography & Environmental Studies Conference 2011, 28-29 June 2011, Hobart, pp. x-x. (2011) [Conference Extract]
At the start of my PhD research I considered the role of the researcher as one factor among many which would influence the interactions between research participants and myself. In my methodological research I considered the potential importance of the gender of research participants and how to engage with both men and women, whether interviewing men and women separately would be different to mixed gender interviews. I had placed little emphasis on the influence of my gender on those research participants.
Having worked previously in Australia, I did not forsee how influential physical characteristics would be on how I designed and conducted research in the Acehnese context. Learning about the research of male PhD candidates in Aceh and researchers from different countries, I became aware of how physical characteristics affected the type of information I was given by participants. Being foreign brought both benefits and challenges to the research. In addition to the implications of being foreign, I was a particular type of foreign, defined by my skin colour and gender. Insights into the defining role of physical characteristics in this context challenge researchers to question how they affect their research. These findings have implications for the work of researchers and relief agencies in Aceh and elsewhere.