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This roundtable focuses on the post-fieldwork period. We wish to emphasise and encourage discussion on responsibilities towards the experiences and emotions of the vulnerable anthropologist leaving and returning from the field.
Within anthropology much attention is given to preparation of fieldwork and the time in the field through discussions of methodology, ethics, funding opportunities and the possibilities of ethnography. We build on these conversations by focusing on various responsibilities after fieldwork - towards oneself, one's research participants and colleagues. Although fieldwork is often rewarding and enjoyable, we wish to foreground the ways in which we speak about and handle distressing or disturbing experiences of, for example, violence and harassment, and emotions such as guilt, heartbreak and regrets. How do we responsibly navigate changes in social relationships in the field and at home after research? Moreover, we need to interrogate how vulnerabilities of the home-coming fieldworker are situated within a context of multiple precarities that researchers may face with regards to lack of funding, zero-hour contracts and uncertain job prospects. We are interested in exploring why so little is talked about how vulnerabilities in the field continue to affect ethnographers at home, when similar experiences in a home environment might have been treated differently. What does it mean for our personal wellbeing to distance ourselves from fieldwork, as we often are encouraged to do, in order to understand our data?Based on these and related themes we invite researchers to contribute with reflections around the disciplinary, social, or moral responsibilities that emerge from the difficulties of the post-fieldwork period. Together we can make suggestions around what kind of responsibilities and support systems could be put in place after fieldwork.