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Unpacking Fieldwork in Challenging Settings (2)
Wednesday 20 January at 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Power relations and gender during fieldwork: yup, issues still there!
We are back with the Unpacking Fieldwork seminar series! After the success of the first seminar in early 2020 and the elongated disruption as a result of COVID-19, we are returning with the remaining two seminars in an online format. The seminars will now go further to address fieldwork issues in both online and offline settings to address the current challenges, dilemmas, disruptions and discomforts in research due to the pandemic. We are also working on an brand new, unique and engaging website so that we can continue the discussions beyond the seminars in the form of coffee discussions, reading groups, blogs and forum chats. For more updates on everything about fieldwork, please follow us on Twitter here.
Seminar 2 – Power relations and gender during fieldwork: yup, issues still there!
3.15-3.30pm: Conclusion and Q&A
Identifying and managing power relations is a constant struggle in research which is often magnified during fieldwork. Power relations can originate from various factors including caste, class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, age and/or marital status. Researchers must be aware of how power relations affect their access to and the reliability of data. This may entail a continuous self-reflective practice on the researcher’s positionality in the field with the participants, the research site, the advisors and themselves. Here, gender positionality plays a crucial role. Researchers can often find themselves in communities of people with varied cultural and social rules in terms of communication, behaviour and mannerisms demanding the researcher to play along with or fit into certain gender norms and stereotypes.
Undoubtedly, such situations can result in considerable discomfort, anxiety, confusion and self-doubt. This seminar (the second in a three-part seminar series) will thus focus on discussing effective approaches in negotiating and navigating power relations in the field (both in online and in-person fieldwork)– with a special focus on gender positionality. In view of the same, this seminar adopts the format of a forum where participants are encouraged to bring their experiences, observations and questions in the seminar.
Joining details: Registered participants will be sent Zoom meeting details before the event. For more information on the event and how you can register, please visit the Eventbrite registration link here.
About the seminar series:
Fieldwork is a crucial stage for many doctoral researchers and early career researchers. It often shapes and reshapes the nature of research and the researchers themselves. When fieldwork takes place in challenging settings such as(post)conflict societies, when respondents are from less favoured backgrounds, or when power relations are unequal, to name a few, the volume of academic and personal preparation required can be a daunting task. Moreover, the specificity of each research topic makes fieldwork a unique experience. This can often leave researchers isolated because of an inadequacy of training or literature to rely on. Therefore, there is a need to address the challenges and failures that fieldwork in a challenging setting can entail to provide support to novice researchers and make fieldwork a rewarding experience.
In view of this, this three-part seminar series aims to address the various issues in fieldwork related to logistics, methods, gender and identity, power relations, ethics and security, and well-being. Each seminar is based on the format of a semi-structured forum, which allows the seminars to be participant-centred and led. The aim is to prioritise not only the sharing of common fieldwork related concerns but also the sharing of context-specific personal experiences, successes and failures, general advice and/or questions by the participants. Accordingly, these seminars aim to create a safe and confidential space (for PhDs and ECRs) away from the regular academic setting to talk about sensitive topics, seek advice, share experiences and, above all, create and strengthen the community of researchers who can continue these conversations.
The fieldwork seminar series is supported by MMB and the Bristol Doctoral College.