Ethnography as Risky Business: Field Research in Violent and Sensitive Contexts offers a hands-on, critical appraisal of how to approach ethnographic fieldwork on socio-political conflict and collective violence, focusing on the global south. The volume’s contributions are all based on extensive firsthand qualitative social science research conducted in sensitiveand often hazardousfield settings. The contributors reflect on real-life methodological problems as well as the ethical and personal challenges such as the protection of participants, research data and the ‘ethnographic self’. In particular, the authors highlight how ‘risky ethnography’ requires careful maneuvering before, during, and after fieldwork on the basis of a ‘situated’ ethics, yet also point to the rewards of such an endeavor. If these methodological, ethical and personal risks are managed adequately, the yields in terms of generating a deep understanding of, and critical engagement with, conflict and violence may be substantial.
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About the Author
Kees Koonings is associate professor of anthropology and development studies in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University and professor of Brazilian studies at CEDLA, University of Amsterdam.
Dirk Kruijt is professor emeritus of development studies in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University, research fellow at the Center for International Studies of the University Institute of Lisbon, and research fellow at the Centre for Military Studies, Stellenbosch University.
Dennis Rodgers is research professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and visiting professor in international development studies at the University of Amsterdam.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Ethnography as ‘Risky Business’
Chapter 1: Researching the Politics of Aid in War-torn Societies: The Case of Chalatenango, El Salvador
Chapter 2: Dealing with Distrust: A Diplomat-Anthropologist Negotiating Obstacles in Politically Sensitive Urban Fieldwork in Sudan
Chapter 3: Researching security in Africa as the “Sierra Foxtrot Golf”
Chapter 4: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Negotiating Identity in Fieldwork Among the National Civil Police in Guatemala
Chapter 5: “Doctor, How Can We Improve Our Image in Europe?”: Researching War and Peace in Colombia as an Ethnographer-Consultant
Chapter 6: Interviewing Revolutionary Generations in Latin America: A Personal Memoir
Chapter 7: “You are not like the Ladinos at all”: Reflections on Fieldwork, Cataloguing the Researcher and Knowledge Production
Chapter 8: Keeping a Distance? Dealing With Perpetrators of Violence in a Guatemalan Town
Chapter 9: From 'Broder' to 'Don': Methodological Reflections on Longitudinal Gang Research in Nicaragua
Chapter 10: Interpretation of Dreams and Humor in Affective Fieldwork on State Violence in Argentina
Chapter 11: Swimming with Former Combatants: Ethics and Pragmatics of Fieldwork in Post War zones in Sri Lanka
Chapter 12: Ethical Issues Raised by Legal Anthropological Research on Local Dispute Settlement in Ecuador
Chapter 13: Security at Stake: Dealing with Violence and Public (In)security in a Popular Neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico
Chapter 14: Among Comrades: (Dis)trust in Ethnographic Fieldwork with Former Salvadoran Revolutionaries
Chapter 15: Embedded Ethnography: Conflict Research Through an International Peace Mission in Colombia
Chapter 16: Fieldwork Frontiers: Danger, Uncertainty, and Limitations During Research with Former Combatants in Mozambique