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The current crisis requires renewed discussions of methodologies that are born out of unstable, insecure research situations. This panel aims to look at how the current pandemic has become an 'agent of change' for the methodological toolbox within anthropology.
Our discipline has a long history of conducting research in the conditions of a crisis: wars, natural disasters, and social unrest have repeatedly formed the background for methodological discussions that are reflected in a range of works (Macek 2009, Pandian 2019, Postill 2017). Conditions of crisis may require unusual methodological measures and research strategies that change, challenge, or even 'break' with existing methodology standards and traditions. The current crisis calls for renewed discussions of methodological issues that are born out of unstable, insecure research situations.
In this panel, we aim to look at how the current pandemic has become an 'agent of change' for the methodological toolbox within anthropology. What new research tactics and unusual strategies do we employ in the current situation when we conduct participant observation, as well as interviews, digital, historical, and archival fieldwork? How does the need, created by a crisis, to study remotely or 'at a distance' change our methodological and analytical approaches? What happens with our research methods when our personal lives are also sucked into a crisis, as is the case in the ongoing pandemic? What new ethical and methodological dilemmas arise?
By focusing on this particular moment, we invite papers that explore the unique methodological responses and issues that are born out of this global crisis situation. Asking how we deal methodologically with exceptional situations that bring instability and insecurity to our research, we hope to initiate a conversation on how anthropological research practices are changing in the contemporary moment.