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AN ESSAY ON «SUB-PERSONALITY»: A TWO-TIME ATTEMPT TO SPEAK ABOUT VIOLENCE

Evgeny Shtorn (evgshtorn@gmail.com)

The National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Shtorn E. M. (2017) Esse o sublichnosti: dvukratnaja popitka pogovorit’ o nasilii [An Essay on «Sub-Personality»: a Two-Time Attempt to Speak about Violence]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 20(5): 207–221 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2017.20.5.12

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Abstract. This essay is a field note or a socio-anthropological reflection on the methodological work that the researcher encounters in starting a sensitive topic. It does not seek to fulfil an in-depth study of the question posed. I propose to consider two sociological interviews with the same interviewee about his experience of violence related to his homosexuality. The experience of our conversation on a sensitive topic in the absence of speaking skills about this kind of problems is regarded as a starting point for understanding emerging methodological diffi culties. The interview narrative allows to identify lacunae and gaps in the story of the life experience of my interviewee. Th e most important in this text are the differences that appeared in the second interview: they are not so much related to biographical sequences, but rather give a different interpretation of events. The return to the interviewee for the second time proved to be a fruitful methodological tool that allowed not only to fill his biography with details and nuances, but also to redefine the research question in a new way. In addition, it is important to note that a more detailed conversation that has a time gap allows to compare how the interviewee evaluates his experience and to discover how such assessments can vary and transform over time. Finally, it should be noted that regardless of initial research question and topic, working with the interviewee, readiness to hear him and “follow him” give ground for new knowledge that can substantially distance from the starting point. Even though the interviewee does not cover the topics of researcher’s interest, then he still gives important and unexpected insights.

Keywords: LGBT, homosexuality, hate crimes, methodology, qualitative research

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