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Research at the margins - transgressing rules in sensitive fields? I 
Marion Naeser-Lather (University of Innsbruck)
Timo Heimerdinger (University of Freiburg)
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Knowledge Production
Monday 21 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

The panel investigates rules resp. their transgression concerning anthropological research. Such rules may regard positioning, transparency, and the acceptance of research topics. We ask about their discoursivation and their implications for researchers and field partners.

Long Abstract:

Working as ethnographers implies rules which, however, sometimes are bent or broken. This occurs especially in "sensitive" fields testing the boundaries of our discipline, like research in warzones, about tabooed topics, stigmatized groups or "people we don´t necessarily like" (Bangstad). Rules can concern our positioning towards our field (e.g. see debates on solidarity with right-wing informants or action anthropology), transparency about our intentions and results (e.g., towards authorities) and which topics are 'allowed' to research. Rules can be set by the field itself, society, statal institutions, funding organizations and by the scientific community itself. They expose gaps in our research practices, methods, and approaches. They reveal fashions, trends, political, cultural and subject-historical pressures, constraints, and paradigmata.

In this context, the panel addresses the following questions:

• What are the rules concerning anthropological research, how are they negotiated and conceptualized (as conventions or laws), and how is their transgression discoursivized?

• How are those rules connected to power relations within our fields and beyond?

• Do rules constrain or save us? What is at stake when we transgress them? Inhowfar do we empower or endanger others by doing so?

• Inhowfar do certain fields require new approaches? In which cases is breaking or transcending rules feasible, necessary, or might pose chances for the advancement of our discipline?

• Are there (un-)written imperatives to "be on the right side" within the scientific community, and how are they mediated, discussed or enforced?

We invite empirical and theoretical contributions from research settings across Europe.

Accepted papers: