Self-Reflexivity for Social Change: The Researcher, I, and the Researched, Female Street-Based Commercial Sex Workers,’ Gendered Contexts

  • Iccha Basnyat


Dominant communication research that valorizes objectivity in order to prescribe top-down measures of social change removes the researcher from the process and erases voices of the communities. In contrast, I argue that positioning the self in relation to those “studied” enables the communication scholar to foster participatory coconstructive spaces for change. Through a case study, I explore gendered context of the participants and my narratives to illustrate the significance of self-reflexivity for social change. Through narratives of lived experiences of female commercial sex workers and my self-reflexivity, I am able to juxtapose our stories and locate both the “researched” and the “researcher” as active participants in the research process. In doing so, we connect our gendered selves to the broader context within which these stories transpire moving toward a change that is embedded in a coconstructive process. In fact, I argue that self-reflexivity moves us toward social change projects aimed to achieve social justice, that is, projects that reflect a culturally meaningful knowledge that is coconstructed by both the researcher and the researched.


Self-reflexivity Social change Participatory approaches Co-construction 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iccha Basnyat
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Communication StudiesJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA

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