Yours truly is giving a paper on the below topic tomorrow, as part of the Keele Sociology crew's rolling programme of seminars. Here's my (very short!) abstract.
Some Problems of Partisan Social Movement Research
Participatory research produces a range of difficulties that have been well documented by the sociological literature. These problems are especially acute when the research is taking place in charged political fields where the axis of partisanship goes beyond adherence to a set of radical political beliefs and is tightly fixed to a particular organisation. Thus the researcher must confront and negotiate two potential sites of tension, that arising between activists from rival organisations, and a more generalised contradiction between the objectives of the political field and the academic, a negotiation rendered all the more problematic by the researcher owing their political allegiances to one of the groups. This paper explores these problems through original life history data on contemporary Trotskyist activists.
Decoding the academese, basically what I'll be looking at is why nearly every Socialist Party member who was asked to participate in my project did so, and why so few Socialist Workers' Party comrades did, despite being honest and open about the aims of the research. And some other things too. I'll write about how the presentation goes at some point.