W066
Ethnographies en situation de risque / Ethnographies at risk

Convenors:
Gilles Raveneau (Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)
Tiphaine Barthelemy (Université de Picardie/ CURAPP)
Chair:
Alban Bensa
Location:
V505
Start time:
12 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This workshop aims to explore the questions raised by the fieldwork conducted when researchers and researched have to face dangers due to specific economic, social or political contexts.

Long abstract:

Any ethnographic fieldwork, insofar as it implies the personal commitment of the researcher and his interlocutors can be considered "sensitive" fieldwork and supposes taking risks. Thus, it hardly seems relevant to identify and oppose "difficult" fieldwork compared to any other which would be on the contrary "easy". However, in some cases, the ethnographer can be confronted with extreme situations which can take several forms. The researched are the first ones to be in danger, either because their physical integrity is threatened (a war situation, for example), or because they they live in environments marked by precariousness, vulnerability, uncertainty, suffering or violence. The ethnographer himself may have to deal with threats - from the ban to investigate to prison sentences - the ins and outs of which we can wonder about according to contexts. The survey itself can finally involve risks for the researcher as well as for his interlocutors, because of the sensitive questions it raises, because it reveals the unspoken, because of the analyses it can help develop, things which are not necessarily to the taste of the political regimes, local politicians, institutions or sponsors. What ethnography remains possible under these conditions? What is at stake and what are the results? What impact can it have on researchers and on their interlocutors ? These are questions that this workshop proposes to explore from a number of examples in near and faraway fieldwork. Its general purpose is not to collect anecdotes, of course, but to show that the analysis of situations of uncertainty and crisis can reveal changes and trends in ethnography today.