chapter  10
21 Pages

Dangers in Fieldwork

Research Ethics and the Predicament of Self-Harm in Anthropological Research
WithDebojyoti Das

This chapter discusses the methodological, moral and ethical dilemmas of conducting fieldwork in a social context where everyday violence and suspicion features predominantly. It considers methodological practice such as reflectivity, informed consent, fieldworker's responsibility, rapport and reciprocity to engage with the ethics of fieldwork. The chapter explores the constraints that academic research poses to the participation of researchers in communities afflicted by deep political and ethnic strife. In ethnographic fieldwork, the question of a researcher's subject position becomes fundamental as he or she is expected to engage, be immersed and at the same time be objective and neutra. A range of ethical issues emerges as one move with the set goals of fieldwork as they cannot be considered during planning and permission stage. The author encounters a set of ethical dilemmas while doing fieldwork in Nagaland and using survey, interview data collection and ethnographic methods in the same context, sometimes in a very controlling position.