Accepted Paper:

Position yourself and be positioned: ethical and practical questions in migration anthropology in the 21st century  

Author:

Silja Klepp (Kiel University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims at reflecting fieldwork experiences and dynamics of positioning in two politically charged field sites: the border region in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Pacific region where the island state of Kiribati is perceived as one of the first “victims” of climate change.

Paper long abstract:

The first part of my paper reflects on how to carry out fieldwork in a space where migrants as our collaborators and informants are in a vulnerable and precarious situation - the border zone between Africa and Europe, between Libya, Malta and Italy. Between 2006 and 2010 I carried out field work in these three countries. Especially in Libya I had to opt for explorative methods, having always security questions of my informants and myself in mind. And how to deal with a field where human rights violations are a daily and often deadly practice? Choosing a proactive way of engagement and scholar activism was a way to cope with ethical questions and also of knowledge production. Taking this attitude to Kiribati in the Pacific to the research topic of climate change and migration created new challenges and questions of self-positioning and of being positioned - this time by a community of islanders that is fighting for climate justice.

Panel P003
Anthropologists between the Middle East and Europe: war, crises, refugees, migration and Islamophobia [AMCE]