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Durham University

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Publication details

Kong, Sui-Ting, Ho, Petula Sik-Ying & Jackson, Stevi (2021). Doing being observed: Experimenting with collaborative focus group analysis in post-Umbrella Movement Hong Kong. Sociological Research Online 26(3): 485-504.

Author(s) from Durham


Democratising social inquiry is particularly relevant in the context of Hong Kong’s recent social movements, where political divisions have created rifts among families and friends. In exploring the Umbrella Movement’s personal impact on activists, bystanders and opponents, we developed a new methodology: collaborative focus group analysis (CFGA). Designed to create a safe space for communicating political differences, the methodology also aims to break down the distinction between researchers and researched and engages the latter as co-researchers. In our first application of CFGA, solidarity was exhibited across political and cultural divides, demonstrating the methodology’s potential to support collaborative knowledge-making among co-researchers with different political stances and educational and cultural backgrounds. By analysing the patterns of interaction that emerged within CFGA, we identify strategies for building ‘situated solidarity’ and maintaining ‘non-hierarchical dialogues’. In so doing, we assess CFGA’s potential and limitations.