Reflexivity, positionality and normativity in the ethnography of policy translation
This chapter discusses the call for new methodology in studying policy translation and the dilemmas and issues which a researcher needs to consider in such work. Anthropologists of policy or ethnographers of international development have discussed the political and ethical dimension of ethnography in the past. The chapter describes three key categories which may help a researcher to grapple with the politics and ethics of policy ethnography. These are: reflexivity, positionality and normativity. The issues of positionality will most often emerge in the context of action research and policy ethnography which runs in parallel with policy or consultancy work, and this is a context which is rife with potential dilemmas and challenges. In response to the growing need for ethnographic studies of the cross-boundary movement of planning and policy ideas and practices, the political and ethical challenges of such research need to be acknowledged and elaborated upon in academic communities of public policy and international relations.