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Accepted Paper:

Trust is a scarce resource: some reflections on fieldwork experiences in Egypt  
Sarah Johanna Hartmann (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin)

Paper long abstract:

"Trust is a scarce resource in Egypt", a colleague of mine once remarked. The government does not seem to trust its people and most citizens do not seem to trust their government or governmental institutions. Foreigners, however, often encounter great hospitality and openness. Under these circumstances, being a foreigner and "outsider" can actually be helpful in conducting fieldwork. On the other hand, methods of anthropological research naturally invite suspicion, especially in a context, where espionage stories and conspiracy theories abound.

The aim of my paper is to identify and analyze patterns of trust and distrust which I encountered during several periods of fieldwork in Cairo between 2004 and 2010 and reflect about their implications for my work. The fact that my research focuses on the informal, and to a large extent illegal, practice of private tutoring within the mainstream education system, has posed additional challenges and ethical problems regarding access and relationships with "informants".

Panel W044
What are you really doing here? Suspicion and the politics of ethnography
  Session 1