Foucaultian understandings of power have come to be highly influential in the how we analyse and write up rural cultural research. However, despite the extensive application of his work, Foucault’s retheorisation of power has been less consistently applied to how we ‘do’ rural cultural research. While researchers have sought to recognise and develop appropriate strategies around the role of power in how research is conducted, we have been less specific regarding how we theorise and apply our concepts of power when reflecting on the research process. It is the implications of this lack of theoretical rigour, combined with institutional constructions of research relationships, that this paper seeks to interrogate. Drawing on research conducted as part of doctorate, this article analyses the diverse ways in which participants from four New South Wales rural public housing communities negotiated the research relationship with myself and influenced the way this research was conducted and what became the final research project. Ultimately, this article argues that issues of theoretical consistency are fundamental to the overall integrity of reflexive processes when doing rural cultural research.