Fieldwork in the Global South
Ethical Challenges and Dilemmas
Edited by Jenny Lunn
Routledge – 2014 – 296 pages
Choosing to do fieldwork overseas, particularly in the Global South, is a challenge in itself. The researcher faces logistical complications, safety issues, language barriers, and much more. But permeating the overseas experience is a range of ethical issues. While there are books and guidelines on ethical practice, these do not present fixed answers or set procedures. Instead, each situation is unique and the individual researcher must negotiate their own path through a variety of ethical challenges and dilemmas.
In this book, research students share their experiences of facing such ethical challenges and dilemmas during fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Ethical issues face the researcher at every turn and cannot be compartmentalised into one part of the research process; this book puts ethical challenges and dilemmas at the very center of the discussion and uses them as the lens with which to view different stages of fieldwork. The book covers four thematic areas: ethical issues relating to using different research methods; ethical dimensions of researcher positionality; ethical challenges relating to practical issues in the field; and ethical dilemmas of engaging with research subjects. The contributors’ fieldwork experiences come from their doctoral research on a broad sweep of development-related topics from natural resources, gender, and governance to land tenure, energy and health, as well as a spread of country-specific experience across the Global South.
This book provides fresh insights on ethical issues faced when conducting fieldwork overseas by drawing on the experience of current or recent postgraduates rather than that of established academics with many years of experience. Their personal experiences and real examples offer honest and self-critical reflections on negotiating ethical challenges and dilemmas, which will appeal to postgraduates, undergraduate students, and all other researchers conducting their research in the Global South.
1. Towards a new view of fieldwork ethics: Integrated, individual and shared Jenny Lunn Part 1. Ethical Challenges in the Field 2. When does ‘fieldwork’ begin? Negotiating pre-field ethical challenges Riamsara Kuyakanon Knapp 3. ‘I always carried a machete when travelling on the bus’: Ethical considerations when conducting research in dangerous places Julia Tomei 4. Controversial, corrupt and illegal: Researching difficult topics in the Global South Andrew Brooks 5. Finding fluency in the field: Ethical challenges of conducting research in another language Danielle Gent 6. Whose voice? Ethics and dynamics of working with interpreters and research assistants Hayley Leck 7. Doing it together: Ethical dimensions of accompanied fieldwork Jenny Lunn and Alessandro Moscuzza Part 2. Ethical Dimensions of Researcher Identity 8. Revealing and concealing: Ethical dilemmas of manoeuvring identity in the field Girija Godbole 9. First impressions count: Identity, access and the ethical dilemmas of being a ‘native’ or a ‘foreign’ researcher Rinita Dam and Jenny Lunn 10. Flirting with boundaries: Ethical dilemmas of performing gender and sexuality in the field Eszter Krasznai Kovàcs and Arshiya Bose 11. Family connections: Ethical implications of involving relatives in field research Luke Taylor Part 3. Ethical Issues Relating to Research Methods 12. Fellow traveller or viper in the nest? Negotiating ethics in ethnographic research Margi Bryant 13. Unsettling the ethical interviewer:Emotions, personality, ethics and the interview Thomas Aneurin Smith 14. Whose knowledge, whose benefit? Ethical dilemmas of participatory mapping Nora Fagerholm 15. Seeing both sides: Ethical challenges of conducting gender-sensitive fieldwork Virginie Le Masson Part 4. Ethical Dilemmas of Engagement 16. ‘You can be jailed here by even me talking to you’: Dilemmas and difficulties relating to informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity Chloe Skinner 17. Giving the vulnerable a voice: Ethical considerations when conducting research with children and young people Caroline Day 18. Power play: Ethical dilemmas of dealing with local officials and politicians Kamakshi Perera-Mubarak 19. Exercising my rights: Ethical choices and moral predicaments in accessing government documents Deepta Chopra 20. Restaurants and Renqing: Ethical challenges of conducting interviews with business people over dinner Yue Wang 21. Can you please all of the people some of the time? Ethical challenges in making research relevant to academia, policy and practice Stephen Jones 22. ‘So what kind of student are you?’ The ethics of ‘giving back’ to research participants Samantha Staddon 23. Afterword Katie Willis
Jenny Lunn manages a project promoting public engagement in geography at the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers in London.