Accepted paper:

Teamwork ethnography in a contested field: the politics of researching the forest dispute in southwest Australia


David Trigger (University of Queensland)
Adele Millard (Central Land Council)

Paper short abstract:

The paper addresses issue of the self in ethnography, advocacy amidst ideals of independent research, and the possibilities of teamwork among researchers in the context of a study of environmental dispute in southwest Australia.

Paper long abstract:

The paper presents a retrospective analysis of complex research with anti- and pro- forest logging groups in southwest Australia at the time of negotiated Regional Forest Agreements in 1999-2001. Three collaborating researchers faced the challenges of intimate fieldwork encounters among people committed to particular political and economic aspirations in regard to logging and forest management. This involved tensions between independent inquiry and expectations that the researchers would take sides in a highly vigorous environmental dispute. The presentation will situate description of the researchers' intellectual and emotional responses in this setting within anthropological literature concerning the 'self' in the ethnographic research process, advocacy as part of independent social science study, and forms of personal engagement with research subjects that impact on the working relationships between members of the project team.

panel Ethn03
Intimacy & information: dilemmas of power, trust and property in the informant encounter