Revealing and Concealing Secrets in Research: The Potential for the Absent
Qualitative research accounts are characterized by absences; absences resulting from what can not be told because it is not known and from what can not be repeated because it should not be stated. This article examines the problems associated with undertaking research in conditions of secrecy in order to ask how the missing could figure as a creative resource in our accounts of the social world. It advances an overall strategy of exemplifying the negotiation of revelation and concealment experienced by researchers within the relation between the reader and author in order to convey lived experiences. Particular attention is given to secrets and absences in relation to the sub-field of autoethnography, where much of the discussion to date has been bounded by a delimiting ‘ethics of exposure’.
Vol. 10, Issue 5, pp. 571 - 587