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"You're Asking the Wrong Question": Member-Checking during Fieldwork

Grahame, Alyssa


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    "description": "<p>In February 2014, I&rsquo;d been living in Reykjav&iacute;k, Iceland for just a few weeks. I was intending to study &ldquo;the Icelandic Revolution&rdquo; of 2008-2009, when a new series of large, public protests changed my plans. Over the course of a few weeks and then months, I met many of my research participants at these events. One such participant was Kristj&aacute;n1, whom I met when he asked me why a &ldquo;tourist&rdquo; was interested in Icelandic protests. A few months later, in the run-up to municipal elections in May, he invited me to attend an outreach event associated with the Social Democratic Alliance (SDA), one of Iceland&rsquo;s four major political parties at the time. There, Kristj&aacute;n introduced me to another party member named Thorvaldur, and we struck up a conversation that turned into an informal interview. Not unlike Kristj&aacute;n, Thorvaldur expressed curiosity about why an &uacute;<em>tlendingar </em>(foreigner) such as myself would be interested in Iceland&rsquo;s local politics and asked me to explain the project. Thinking that I had successfully refined my pitch over the past few months, I explained my interest in the various ongoing sovereign debt crises in Europe and the Eurozone, which elicited the question of what the so-called &ldquo;age of austerity&rdquo; meant for the future of social democracy in the European Union. Then, Thorvaldur rather abruptly exclaimed that I was &ldquo;asking the wrong question!&rdquo; &ldquo;Instead,&rdquo; he told me, &ldquo;you should be asking whether social democracy has a future <em>without </em>the European Union&rdquo; (personal communication, April 2014).</p>", 
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    "title": "\"You're Asking the Wrong Question\": Member-Checking during Fieldwork", 
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