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Accepted Paper:

Thinking about experiences of gender-based violence perpetrated on female workers on the field : from acknowledging the issue to building a feminist epistemology of anthropological fieldwork  
Mariia Shaidrova (Tilburg University) Marion Langumier (Université Paris Nanterre)

Paper short abstract:

In this communication, I would like to raise the question of gender-related perception of risk and experience of violence on the field. I will try to account for female researchers’ higher exposure to gender-based violence and the common silence and institutional unpreparedness that surrounds it.

Paper long abstract:

The aim of my paper will be to raise the issue of female field anthropologists’ higher exposure to gender-based violence when on the field, and the unpreparedness, or voluntary ignorance, of the academic environment.

The problem of being confronted to gender-based violence concerns many field researchers, especially women and sexual minorities, whether they are students or confirmed researchers. To explore this issue, I rely on the available literature and on informal discussions I have had with female colleagues of different statuses in France about issues of oppression, assaults and harassment while doing fieldwork, as well as the institutional reaction after I had myself experienced gender-based violence during PhD fieldwork three years ago.

The literature indicates that the definition of fieldwork as a basis for the production of anthropological knowledge draws on male experiences of fieldwork which excludes being subject of gender-based violence. Paradigmatic of this is the rite de passage mythology still present in the culture of research, and which prevents the expression of hardships and pain (Derrider et al. 2021).

Several hypothesises can be made to account for the lack of preparedness and communication of both the institutional environments and the women researchers themselves. Widespread in the profession, guilt and the imperative to be socially integrated on the field may sometimes increase victim-shaming (the blame of the cultural faux-pas). Equally important for the possibility to provide support are the material and practical aspects of doing research: financial security and institutional attachment of female anthropology students and researchers counts, and the lack of it may often add to the taboo on the legal responsibility of research centres and universities.

Panel P026
Unlevel playing fields: detecting and solving academic violence
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -