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In a compelling exploration of an oft-hidden aspect of qualitative field research, Women Fielding Danger shows how identity performances can facilitate or block field research outcomes. The book asks questions that are crucial for all women engaged in field research. Do researchers enter their field site with a totally neutral identity? Can a researcher's own identity be at odds with how interviewees see her? Could a researcher be of the "wrong" gender, sexuality, nationality, or religion for those being studied? Must some of a researcher's identities be subsumed in certain research settings? How much identity disguise is possible before a researcher violates research ethics or loses herself? Together, these questions inform the book's themes of the centrality of gender, social and political danger, the negotiation of identities, and on-site ethics.
Focusing on ethnographic research across a wide range of disciplines and world regions, this deeply informed book presents practical "to-dos" and technical research strategies. In addition, it offers unique illustrations of how the political, geographic, and organizational realities of field sites shape identity negotiations and research outcomes. Understanding these dynamics, the authors show, is key to surviving the ethnographic field.
Introduction: Similarities among Differences
Part I: Gender's Front Stage: Insiders and Outsiders
Chapter 1: Fixing and Negotiating Identities in the Field: The Case of Lebanese Shiites
Chapter 2: Studying Environmental Rights and Land Usage: Undergraduate Researcher Gets "Gendered In"
Chapter 3: Globalizing Feminist Research
Chapter 4: Veiling the "Dangers" of Colliding Borders: Tourism and Gender in Zanzibar
Part II: Danger and "Safe Spaces"
Chapter 5: Gendered Observations: Activism, Advocacy, and the Academy
Chapter 6: Human Rights in East Timor: Advocacy and Ethics in the Field
Chapter 7: Securing "Safe Spaces": Field Diplomacy in Albania and Kosovo
Part III: Negotiating Research Identities
Chapter 8: Negotiating the Field in Rural India: Location, Organization and Identity Salience
Chapter 9: Perils of Witnessing and Ambivalence of Writing: Whiteness, Sexuality, and Violence in Rio de Janeiro Shantytowns
Chapter 10: Power, Safety and Ethics in Cross-Gendered Research with Violent Men
Chapter 11: Negotiating the Muddiness of Grassroots Research: Managing Identity and Data in Rural El Salvador
Part IV: Ethics and Secrecy
Chapter 12: Secrecy and Trust in the Affective Field: Conducting Field Work in Burma
Chapter 13: The Veiled Feminist Ethnographer: Fieldwork among Women of India's Hindu Right
Chapter 14: Studying Violent Male Institutions: Cross-Gender Dynamics in Police Research—Secrecy and Danger in Brazil and Guatemala