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Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Research, Ethics and Risk in the Authoritarian Field

Authors: Glasius, M., de Lange, M., Bartman, J., Dalmasso, E., Del Sordi, A., Lv, A., Michaelsen, M., Ruijgrok, K.

  • Builds on the authors' extensive and recent first-hand experiences in authoritarian areas
  • Treats the challenges of the authoritarian field comprehensively and cross-regionally in the first Open Access publication on the topic
  • Demonstrates that fieldwork research in authoritarian contexts is possible and necessary, while being frank about the methodological, ethical and physical perils involved
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-68966-1
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-68965-4
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Softcover $31.00
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-88692-3
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About this book

This open access book offers a synthetic reflection on the authors’ fieldwork experiences in seven countries within the framework of ‘Authoritarianism in a Global Age’, a major comparative research project. It responds to the demand for increased attention to methodological rigor and transparency in qualitative research, and seeks to advance and practically support field research in authoritarian contexts. Without reducing the conundrums of authoritarian field research to a simple how-to guide, the book systematically reflects and reports on the authors’ combined experiences in (i) getting access to the field, (ii) assessing risk, (iii) navigating ‘red lines’, (iv) building relations with local collaborators and respondents, (v) handling the psychological pressures on field researchers, and (vi) balancing transparency and prudence in publishing research. It offers unique insights into this particularly challenging area of field research, makes explicit how the authors handled methodological challenges and ethical dilemmas, and offers recommendations where appropriate. 

About the authors

Marlies Glasius is Professor in International Relations at the Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and principal investigator of the ERC-funded project Authoritarianism in a Global Age. Her research interests include authoritarianism, international criminal justice, human security and global civil society.
Meta de Lange is a junior researcher at the University of Amsterdam. She gained fieldwork experience in Surinam (2005), interviewing youth in detention, and in Cameroon (2006) by conducting interviews on the impact of HIV/Aids in a rural area.

Emanuela Dalmasso is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam. Her main areas of expertise and interest are Middle East Politics and Gender Studies with a specific focus on Morocco.

Adele Del Sordi is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam, where she investigates the impact of globalization on authoritarian sustainability in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. Her research interests include: stability of authoritarian regimes, post-Soviet politics and authoritarian learning.
Aofei Lv is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam. She has conducted fieldwork in China since 2010, including interviews with officials of different departments within central government, senior journalists of state media and commercial media, scholars of governmental research institutions and top universities, senior managers of enterprises, and representatives of international organizations in China.

Marcus Michaelsen is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam. His research interests include media and political change, digital media activism, and the politics of internet governance, with a particular focus on Iran and the Middle East.  

Jos Bartman is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics, University of AmsterdamHe gained fieldwork experience during his research masters, during which he conducted four months of fieldwork in rural West-Bengal. For his current research he has conducted fieldwork in Veracruz (Mexico) and Gujarat (India), where he has interviewed targets and executors of political repression. 

Kris Ruijgrok is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam. His research uses a mixed-methods approach to study the role of Internet in street protesting in authoritarian regimes. He has recently conducted fieldwork in Malaysia.

Reviews

“This volume packs a wealth of information, meticulously catalogued, on the various aspects of doing field research in authoritarian countries. This is a must-read for novice researchers of authoritarian countries and provides useful reminders even to veteran researchers.” (Victor Shih, Assistant Professor of Political Economy, University of California, San Diego, USA)

“This is a highly useful introductory guide to field work in authoritarian contexts that should be used both in the classroom and in the field. It offers practical advice on ethics and security risks, building connections, and writing up field research notes. It also includes insights on the much-neglected but important topic of the mental impact of doing field research in these contexts. The helpful checklist of Do's and Don'ts will be of particular value to junior researchers.” (Janine Clark, Professor of Political Science, University of Guelph, Canada)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-15

    Glasius, Marlies (et al.)

  • Entering the Field

    Pages 17-36

    Glasius, Marlies (et al.)

  • Learning the Red Lines

    Pages 37-51

    Glasius, Marlies (et al.)

  • Building and Maintaining Relations in the Field

    Pages 53-76

    Glasius, Marlies (et al.)

  • Mental Impact

    Pages 77-95

    Glasius, Marlies (et al.)

Buy this book

eBook  
  • ISBN 978-3-319-68966-1
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover $31.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-68965-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $31.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-88692-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Research, Ethics and Risk in the Authoritarian Field
Authors
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-68966-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-68966-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-68965-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-88692-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 122
Topics