Researching race: Identifying a social construction through qualitative methods and an interactionist perspective

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24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although much of the sociological community now views race as a social construction, empirical research does not always identify it in this way. Many practices of designating a research participant's race approach this process uncritically, implicitly framing race as uncomplicated. Although this is more common in survey-based work, in this article I explore the tendencies and difficulties of studying race using qualitative methods. I discuss two prevalent but potentially problematic ways of "operationalizing" race in qualitative methodology, and then elaborate on the difficulties of identifying race in practice, using examples from my own ethnographic research. I suggest that symbolic interactionism provides a unique perspective from which to express race as socially situated, as long as this process is approached reflectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-425
Number of pages17
JournalSymbolic Interaction
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)

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