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Emotional and Ethical Challenges for Field Research in Africa

The Story Behind the Findings

Editors: Thomson, S., Ansoms, A., Murison, J. (Eds.)

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About this book

Academic literature rarely gives an account of the ethical challenges and emotional pitfalls the researcher is confronted with before, during and after being in the field. Giving personal accounts, the authors explore some of the challenges one can face when engaging in local-level research in difficult situations.

About the authors

SUSAN THOMSON is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University, USA. Her research and teaching interests are in state-society relations in contemporary Africa and qualitative research methods, with particular focus on research ethics and doing research in difficult environments.
AN ANSOMS is Assistant Professor in Development Studies at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She conducts research on poverty and inequality in the Great Lakes Region and pays particular attention to the challenges of rural development in land-scarce post-conflict environments.
JUDE MURISON is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Policy and Management, Belgium. Her research focuses on human rights, transitional justice, forced migration, health and agricultural production through the interplay of national policies and laws, and how they are implemented on the ground.

Reviews

'This volume will be an excellent resource both for the seasoned field researcher and for those preparing to conduct research in conflict-affected countries, whether in Africa or elsewhere, for the first time. The contributions are both self-reflective and sobering, and should provoke careful and critical preparation by researchers. I look forward to recommending it to my own students.' - Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

'The authors take us behind the scenes of the fieldwork process to reveal the interpersonal encounters and relationships, the privileges and vulnerabilities, and the ethical stakes and emotional costs that are the very sources of knowledge in this kind of research. If the study of social and political conflict and change aspires to be any kind of science, it must reveal rather than cover the human tracks through which an understanding of such conflict/change is produced. The book also offers a much-needed antidote to the crude checklist approach to research ethics by providing on-the-ground experience, reflection, and advice on the unexpected and shifting dilemmas and choices that face those who are committed to socially engaged research. This should be required reading for both undergraduate and graduate students of not only Africa, but all area studies and social sciences that take fieldwork as a primary source of knowledge.' - Kimberly Chang, Associate Professor of Cultural Psychology, Hampshire College, USA


Table of contents (11 chapters)

  • Introduction: Why Stories Behind the Findings?

    Thomson, Susan (et al.)

    Pages 1-11

  • From Humanitarian to Anthropologist: Writing at the Margins of Ethnographic Research in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    Jourdan, Luca

    Pages 12-26

  • The Contested Fruits of Research in War-Torn Countries: My Insider Experience in Northern Uganda

    Ogora, Lino Owor

    Pages 27-41

  • Dislodging Power Structures in Rural Rwanda: From ‘Disaster Tourist’ to ‘Transfer Gate’

    Ansoms, An

    Pages 42-56

  • Challenges of Interviewing Political Elites: A View from the Top in Post-War Burundi

    Vorrath, Judith

    Pages 57-69

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-26375-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-26374-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $95.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-44273-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • This title is currently reprinting. You can pre-order your copy now.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Emotional and Ethical Challenges for Field Research in Africa
Book Subtitle
The Story Behind the Findings
Editors
  • S. Thomson
  • A. Ansoms
  • J. Murison
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-26375-9
DOI
10.1057/9781137263759
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-26374-2
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-44273-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 169
Topics