Ethical Dimensions of Shared Ethnicity, Language, and Immigration Experience

  • Mabelle P. Victoria


In this article I illustrate how some commonalities that I share with my participants―ethnic background, native language, and immigration experience―create unexpected ethical concerns. I explore how these commonalities facilitate the establishment of rapid intimacy, at the same time creating the temptations of overidentification and blurring the boundaries between researcher and participants. Drawing on three episodes from my ethnographic field work, I demonstrate how the mundane and taken-for-granted encounters with informants (used synonymously with participants) reveal the seeds of ethical dilemmas when put under the powerful and critical lens of reflexivity. Instead of viewing ethics as adherence to a set of codes, I explore reflexivity as ethical practice. Researchers continually make on-the-fly decisions in the field and take corresponding actions without the luxury of careful forethought. I argue that such decisions need to be unpacked after the event to examine if they carry ethical implications with them.
How to Cite
Victoria, M. (2011). Ethical Dimensions of Shared Ethnicity, Language, and Immigration Experience. TESL Canada Journal, 28, 72.