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Relationships, complicity and representation conducting research in Nepal during the Maoist insurgency

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posted on 2014-07-23, 11:07 authored by Judith PettigrewJudith Pettigrew, Sara Shneiderman, Ian Harper
Conducting fieldwork in conflict situations raises specific methodological and ethical questions. While Taussig (1984, 1987, 1992) and Scheper-Hughes (1995) have called for anthropologists to speak out against terror, they have not addressed in detail how researchers working in war zones should negotiate the pragmatics of representation in dangerous field situations. As Kovats-Bernat (2002) notes, although there is a growing literature that aims to develop theoretical approaches to the study of violence, relatively little attention has been given to the practical concerns surrounding fieldwork in conflict situations.1 What is needed, he argues, is 'the adoption of new tactics for ethnographic research and survival in dangerous field sites - strategies that challenge the conventional ethics of the discipline, reconfigure the relationships between anthropologist and informant, and compel innovation in negotiating the exchange of data under hazardous circumstances' (2002: 208). Danny Hoffman (2003) similarly addresses this issue with his call for a reconsideration of 'frontline anthropology' techniques. We contribute to this discussion by examining these questions within the rapidly changing context of Nepal, where a bitter internal conflict has developed over the last eight years.

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Publication

Anthropology Today;20 (1), pp. 20-25

Publisher

Wiley

Note

peer-reviewed

Rights

This is the author's version of the following article:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com"

Language

English

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