ABSTRACT

This penultimate chapter preceding the conclusion engages with and reflects on the fieldwork and research methodology. The personal background and positionality of the researcher as a white female German with some isiZulu and Afrikaans knowledge who makes extensive use of English as a lingua franca have contributed to how data was collected, analysed, and presented. Thus, this chapter addresses the continuous process of self-reflection, personal stories, and experiences working with isiZulu and Afrikaans speakers. It illustrates how insecurities were navigated, and the researcher’s whiteness and privilege addressed. Drawing also on reflections with participants it shows that one’s status is always instable, fluid, and filled with dissonance. Research is replete with power relations, but while researching language, race, and other intersections, scholars can build rapport and relationships on various different levels, not least by learning from flawed behaviour. And yet, aiming to portray social actor’s voices in authentic ways does not suffice as portrayals are always tainted by our own biographical subjectivity. This is what the chapter argues and why many parts of this book were read not only by a colleague to get academic advice, but also by some of the participants and consultants of the research. Methodological reflexivity and the building of dialogue between the interviewees, the researcher, and the field meant a permanent learning curve and this part summarizes the main shortfalls and limitations of this process.