4.4 Doing in-depth interviews 126.96.36.199.6 Empowering Attempting to empower the respondent is an aim of some dialogic interviewing (Maynard, 1994). Oakley (1981) argued that the mutually beneficial exchange in a dialogic interview incorporates a political process of mutual reflection on the nature of the oppressive structures, in which both interviewer and interviewee operate.
Yet this raises the question of the nature of empowerment? Who decides on the empowerment process? At its worst this might result in a patronising approach, where the interviewer attempts to 'correct' the view of the unempowered respondent: to empower through consciousness raising because the researcher 'is consistently privileged, particularly through her location in a more ideologically correct position' (Opie, 1992, p. 66).
Angela McRobbie has suggested, there are dangers of a patronising stance in the assumption that feminists can or indeed should have a profound affect on participants' lives. There is also the problem of trying to convert or recruit women to a feminist perspective 'as though feminism can naturally solve all women's problems' (McRobbie 1982, p. 52).
In essence, empowering respondents is about giving the opportunity for the respondents to express themselves and to engage in dialogue, without the presumption that the researcher has a privileged perspective, sophisticated knowledge and a more ideologically correct perspective.