This paper addresses an area largely neglected in the literature on research methods and the experience of fieldwork in anthropology—namely, the methodological and subjective issue of the dangers anthropologists face while in the field. It begins with a brief review of the literature on methods with reference to this issue, and a discussion of some factors that have contributed to the fact that certain problems of physical safety for fieldworkers have become more prominent today than ever before in the past. The second part of the paper illustrates some of these problems by presenting the example of fieldwork/research in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I begin with the experiences of other researchers in Belfast, and then discuss my own experience, focussing on dangerous aspects and how these were managed through a conscious effort at impression management. The third part of the paper returns to a more theoretical or abstract level, presenting recommendations for managing some of the dangers inherent in conducting fieldwork in violent or dangerous social contexts. This is followed by a brief conclusion, presenting some overview observations on this issue.
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Research Article| February 21 2008
Participant Observation in Violent Social Contexts
Human Organization (1990) 49 (2): 114–126.
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Jeffrey Sluka; Participant Observation in Violent Social Contexts. Human Organization 1 June 1990; 49 (2): 114–126. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/humo.49.2.h033174683462676
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