Relational positionality: Conceptualizing research, power, and the everyday politics of neoliberalization in Mexico City

Veronica Crossa


In this paper, I engage in the critically reflexive exercise of thinking about positionality relationally and as a multi-faceted process that incorporates the fieldwork stage, but extends to other dimensions of the research endeavor. Drawing from my experience as a PhD student studying neoliberal policy efforts to change the image of Mexico City, I show how my positionality affected the development of my theoretical framework, which in turn framed the design and conduct of field research. The perspective I present is based on my position as a white, relatively affluent, woman with a Marxist-nourished background, engaging with poststructural perspectives and conducting ethnographic fieldwork with street vendors in Mexico City. Using the notion of relational positionality, I discuss how the multiple trajectories and relations that influence researchers’ subject formation affect different aspects of research, from the ontological to the methodological.


research process; field research; street vendors; relational positionality; subjectivity; power; politics ;everyday politics; neoliberalism

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ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies - ISSN: 1492-9732