Field Research in Africa: The Ethics of Researcher Vulnerabilities [Paperback]

An Ansoms(Editor); Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka(Editor); Susan Thomson(Editor)

ISBN: 9781847012692 | Published by: James Currey | Year of Publication: 2021 | 183p, 1 line drawing
Status: Not Yet Published - Available for pre-order

Field Research in Africa


Researchers working in Africa are engaged in ethical, methodological, logistical, emotional and professional compromises. Juggling the demands of being a researcher and being human, scholars must balance the recording of data with the emotional demands of listening, of analyzing and reporting personal, and often contradictory, narratives. This book recognizes these challenges and lays bare the underlying and important process by which the researcher grapples with emotions, and how 'feelings' inform and shape data collection, interpretation, write-up and dissemination. Based on widely researched on-the-ground work, the contributors reveal the ambiguities and inconsistencies that emerge at all stages of fieldwork and how to tackle them. They examine the ethical quagmires that arise when doing research on sensitive topics in a researcher's own living environment, and suggest how to manage the complex interaction between the researcher's own identity and social relationships in the field, and navigate the role of researcher when activism risks access to the field.

AN ANSOMS is Professor in Development Studies at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium); AYMAR NYENYEZI BISOKA is Assistant Professor at the University of Mons, Belgium. SUSAN THOMSON is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fields of Vision, Emotion as Reflexivity - An Ansoms
Foreword: It is about Us - Elisio Macamo
Introduction: Fields of Vision, Emotion as Reflexivity - Susan Thomson and Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka
Skin Connections: Negotiating Institutional Ethics alongside Insider Identities - Gino Vlavonou
Conducting Sensitive Research "At Home": A Matter of Responsibility - Emery Mushagalusa Mudinga
A Research Journey: Ethical Dilemmas During the Journey of a Female African Recovering the Memory of "Home" - Ghaliya Djelloul
Establishing Kinship in Diaspora: Conducting Research among Fellow Congolese Immigrants of Cape Town - Rosette Sifa Vuninga
"If they find out, we're dead": Intermediaries, Self-Censorship, and Anxiety in Research as an Outsider-Insider - Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka
Looking Behind the Screen: Ethical Quagmires when Accessing Hidden Discourses - An Ansoms
Scholar-Activist? On Relational Accountability and an Ethic of Dissemination - Susan Thomson
Conclusion: Theorizing Self as Ethical Research Practice - Susan Thomson and An Ansoms and Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka

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