Then You Know How I Feel”: Empathy, Identification, and Reflexivity in Fieldwork

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This article extends the discussion of the subjective and positioned nature of the researcher in ethnography by examining how a cancer survivor conducting fieldwork in an oncology clinic shapes and is shaped by the experience. Narratives of lived experience interrupt the academic essay to demonstrate my dynamic understanding of the clinic and the connections between my experiences and those of the patients and staff. I explore how my experiences with cancer shape how I understand the patients and staff; how viewing the clinic from multiple viewpoints affects my understanding of it; and how this process influences my understanding of my own experiences as a cancer survivor.