What Next for This Early Career Researcher?
Autoethnography has been an insightful tool in helping me think about my “hybrid” feminist role and in synthesising my story for this book chapter. Following a feminist autoethnography allowed me to link my personal story to the cultural, which emphasised the ever-evolving social construction of gender across cultural contexts and our constant (gender) identity negotiation process. I am aware of the vulnerability of this approach as I open myself up to criticism from both peers and nonacademics, in the West and the Middle East. However, I believe that revealing my experiences as a bicultural early career researcher rather than a disembodied and disinterested third-person narrative provides a richer and more empowered illustration for the reader (Allen and Piercy 2005). Whilst at times it has been challenging, I have enjoyed focusing on the evocative “auto-” and “ethno-”, being more emotional, culturally focused and evocative in my writing of this chapter. However, I have academically grounded my narrative in feminist philosophical and constructivist methodologies in the “-graphy” of my narrative. Drawing upon Richardson (2000a, b) I have consciously and reflexively departed from a particular position and specific time in my life, as an early career researcher; and hence, I do not claim that this text is intended to say “everything to everyone” but hope that it provides insights for feminist PhD students or early career researchers.
As for the answer to that binary question, “Are you one of us, or one of them?”, I still do not have the answer, even after seven years as a “hybrid” British/Arab researcher. I do believe that all feminist approaches are inspiring, valid, useful, relational and heavily interconnected. Therefore, there is no rush to decide at this moment. However, the pull of holding one identity and membership in a certain feminist school of thought is still appealing; and, potentially, will become even more important to me over my career and provide a rich platform and centre from which I can develop my arguments over the course of my academic career. Time will tell.