Navigating Fieldwork in the Social Sciences

Stories of Danger, Risk and Reward

Editors: Wadds, P., Apoifis, N., Schmeidl, S., Spurway, K. (Eds.)

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  • Offers powerful, raw and candid first-hand stories of conducting dangerous, risky and rewarding research around the globe from fieldworkers across the social sciences
  • Provides insights into doing research in post-conflict settings, researching controversial or taboo topics, and researching vulnerable people 
  • Considers the moral risks, hazards and challenges that fieldworkers may face
  • Discusses successes and failures in mitigating risk before, during and after the field experience
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-46855-2
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About this book

This edited collection of first-person stories about risk in the field offers an arsenal of practical examples where fieldworkers have attempted to negotiate the complexities and risks of field research. Field research can be a risky and dangerous journey where the line between safety and danger can be crossed in quick time, often with little warning. These risks manifest in diverse and novel ways. They can be physical and psychological, ephemeral and enduring. They can impact the researchers, participants, collaborators and interviewees. Indeed, they can condition the very foundation of our processes of knowledge production. Fieldwork is no small stakes game. Covering research from Afghanistan, Chad, DR Congo, Greece, the Horn of Africa, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Palestine, India, Indonesia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Vietnam and Australia, each chapter highlights diverse, eclectic, raw and vulnerable narratives about risks experienced before, during and after the conduct of this research. This book is of great value to inexperienced and experienced fieldworkers alike.    

About the authors

Phillip Wadds is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He has spent the last decade undertaking ethnographic and field-based research examining various features of nightlife in Sydney with an enduring focus on its policing and regulation. 
Nicholas Apoifis is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. His 2017 manuscript Anarchy in Athens (Manchester University Press), was based on unprecedented access to one of the world’s most militant anarchist movements and involved Militant Ethnography.
Susanne Schmeidl is Senior Lecturer in Global Development at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She is a scholar practitioner with field experience in Afghanistan. Her research focuses on understanding drivers of conflict and forced migration as well as grassroots peace efforts.
Kim Spurway is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. She has worked on five national surveys commissioned by the United Nations on the socio-economic impact of landmines and unexploded ordinance on post-conflict countries.  

Reviews

“This book offers moving accounts of risk, vulnerability and the resoundingly human encounter that is fieldwork. Delivered as a generous exercise in reflexive consciousness, it is an education in self-care through story-telling, delivering as it does a searching analysis of the tender, messy, and moving encounters we share while learning with and from others. Fieldwork changes us, and writing of how we are changed takes courage” (Amanda Kearney, Co-author of Reflexive Ethnographic Practice and Professor at Flinders University, Australia)

“Vulnerable, inviting, sometimes terrifying – Navigating Fieldwork takes the reader deep inside the risky situations and improvised solutions that define good fieldwork. Crisscrossing research settings and academic disciplines, the book provides vivid first-hand narratives that coalesce into a collective account of the fieldwork process itself. As a result, Navigating Fieldwork offers field researchers, ethnographers, and other students of the social world something remarkable: a veritable handbook of what might happen” (Jeff Ferrell, Author of Crimes of Style, Tearing Down the Streets and Empire of Scrounge and Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University, USA)

“This book offers lucid and insightful discussions on negotiating the risks, problems and perils of conducting ethnographic research in the social sciences. Covering such diverse populations as sex workers, refugees, street gangs, anarchists, and even Taliban warlords, the authors have produced a must-read for anyone interested in ethnographic fieldwork” (Mark S. Hamm, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Indiana State University, USA)

“This edited collection is about the many risks of field research, including risks that continue long after fieldwork ends. It speaks to the critical importance of field research, but also the need to be aware of the risks that come with it. Ethical fieldwork that does no harm, and is safe for researchers, co-workers and communities starts with honest stories from fieldworkers. This book tells these stories, stories that will emotionally and intellectually challenge readers of all kinds. Read this book!” (Dorothea Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian Studies, Erasmus University, The Netherlands)

Table of contents (11 chapters)

Table of contents (11 chapters)
  • Collecting Stories

    Pages 1-11

    Apoifis, Nicholas (et al.)

  • Sex in the Academy/Sex in the Field: Bodies of Ethics in Activist Research

    Pages 13-37

    Stardust, Zahra Zsuzsanna

  • Sitting with the Mess

    Pages 39-60

    Lenette, Caroline

  • Fear and Loathing in the Cross: Researching the Policing of Nightlife in Sydney

    Pages 61-84

    Wadds, Phillip

  • Doing Critical Drugs Research: From Deconstructing to Encountering Risk in the Field

    Pages 85-106

    Dertadian, George

Buy this book

eBook $24.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-46855-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $34.99
price for USA in USD
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Navigating Fieldwork in the Social Sciences
Book Subtitle
Stories of Danger, Risk and Reward
Editors
  • Phillip Wadds
  • Nicholas Apoifis
  • Susanne Schmeidl
  • Kim Spurway
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-46855-2
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-46855-2
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-46854-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 223
Topics