ME09
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The New Ethnographer: addressing research challenges across disciplines

Convenors:
Keiko Kanno (University of Oxford )
Branwen Spector
Stream:
Methodology
Start time:
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0

Short abstract:

This panel provides a space to discuss research challenges faced by geographers and anthropologists and how we can learn from each other to envision a safer, more compassionate, and more effective research in the field.

Long abstract:

For both anthropologists and geographers, fieldwork is often a significant, stimulating, and potentially challenging component of conducting research. While the two disciplines of anthropology and geography have plenty in common, dialogues and engagement between the researchers in the two disciplines about fieldwork methods are still limited. Anthropologist Amy Pollard's 'Field of Screams' (2009) highlighted that ethnographers returning from fieldwork with different kinds of trauma was emerging as ubiquitous rather than exceptional. Ethnographers have struggled to move away from past attempts to separate 'emotion' from 'data' in what Foley calls 'a somewhat schizophrenic manner' (2002:474), including the emotions embedded in their own lives and relationships in the field. Issues such as financial and mental precarity, safety, and harassment of fieldworkers are not often addressed in journals, lectures, and fieldwork training, and such experiences or ways of managing them remain unknown to many prospective and even experienced fieldworkers. This panel provides a space to discuss challenges faced by geographers and anthropologists and how we can learn from each other to envision a safer, more compassionate, and more effective research in the field. New approaches that enable fieldworkers to research in the field without sacrifices, compromises, or perseverance would potentially make a significant difference in the experience of fieldworkers and our research. We explore perpetuating and arising issues around safety, harassment, ethics, and mental and physical health and wellbeing of fieldworkers in Anthropology and Geography and discuss how we could exchange our fieldwork skills for better fieldwork experience.

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