Contending with border making in the social constructionist interview

Erika Gubrium, Mirka Koro-Ljungberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


As a part of the border-making process that occurs during the social constructionist interview, realities and various preassumed roles are created by researchers and by their respondents. Arbitrary lines are set between researcher and respondent during the interview as the researcher seeks to better understand and tell the story of his or her interviewee in a clear and controlled manner. The authors do not consider the Romanticist aim of obtaining structure-free experience; rather, they contend with the inevitable border-making process of communication. This article explores the social constructionist interview by examining how to contend with four forms of border making: (a) the borders of control, (b) research agendas as border making, (c) language and discipline as border making, and (d) the border-making influences of roles and socialization. Examples from a multicultural research interview project are used to contextualize the argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-715
Number of pages27
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Interview methodology
  • Research methodology
  • Social constructionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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