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Ethical Research Involving Children

An un/familiar space: Children and parents as collaborators in autoethnographic family research.

Little, S., & Little, T. (2022). An un/familiar space: Children and parents as collaborators in autoethnographic family research. Qualitative Research, 22(4), pp. 632-648.

Abstract: This paper, coauthored by mother and son (aged 10 at the time of writing, 12 at time of revisions), reports on the collaborative research experience during a 2.5-year-long autoethnographic study, which focused on bringing back the family heritage language after a 2-year break. Through a joint research diary, we regularly and rigorously chronicled both language-related conversations and our emotions linked to the process of bringing back the heritage language. Frustration, guilt, joy, exasperation, and pride were jointly discussed via what we call an un/familiar space. This paper explores the evolution of this space, linking it to Bhabha’s third space theory and Gadamer’s fusion of horizons. We present the un/familiar space both as an epistemological stance and as a methodological tool for intergenerational autoethnography, enabling both parents and children to engage with each other in a more neutral space, deliberately removed from traditional family roles. Further, we critically engage with the role of children as co-creators of knowledge within this space, contributing longitudinal data of co-construction and critical reflection from two generations to the research community. Abstract reproduced with permission. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Qualitative Research, Vol 22/ Issue 4, 3/2022 by SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © [SAGE Publications, Ltd.].

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