Ann Laudati and Althea-Maria Rivas are putting together a new edited volume on researching violence. Here’s their call for abstracts.
Embedded in the unique spaces of violence and conflict are particular sets of issues that face researchers. These particularities present a rich but difficult terrain of inquiry for scholars attempting to navigate these complex warscapes. A scattering of instructional texts has emerged alongside the reported rise in conflict incidents around the world (HIIK 2014; UCDP 2014), however, attention to the subject of ‘doing research in violent settings’ remains lacking. Rather, the majority of textbooks on conducting research in conflict zones rarely diverges from mainstream texts despite the obvious and overwhelming evidence that the very process of working in conflict regions around the world does not fit current academic guidelines which have no clear guidelines for negotiating with warlords or working with rape survivors.
In this edited volume we aim to draw attention to the process of conducting fieldwork in conflict affected regions. Unlike previous books on the subject of doing conflict fieldwork, this edited volume does not seek to present a traditional handbook on methodologies or delineate a clear how to toolset for undertaking conflict related research.
Our purpose is to offer up a broader lens than the common focus on technical questions of methods and ethics allow. The book aims to deconstruct what it means to ‘do’ research in conflict affected or violent contexts – which we understand to be as much a reflective, emotive, and critical inquiry of the research process as it is a practical one. This volume thus seeks to go beyond academic-centric conversations about how we can achieve rigour or handle our data collection and rather it aims to draw out the broader implications of such research efforts and our place within it.
The tone of the volume therefore is a reflective one that casts a critical eye (as much as an uncomfortably honest one) on understanding the self and practice in the process of doing research in and on conflict and violence. In this way, this volume seeks to interrogate, as much as, highlight the spaces and experiences that are overlooked in traditional methodology texts. By doing so we hope to present a more nuanced and grounded view of research that is unapologetic and unafraid to demystify and declare the messiness that is inherent in the process of research in/on violence, in order to set forth a new set of sensibilities about approaching fieldwork in conflict settings.
Papers discussing fieldwork experiences from the perspective of different academic disciplines and fields of practice are particularly welcome. Contributions may include (but are not limited to) the following broad themes:
- The embodied politics and positionality of the researcher
- Rumors, representations and perceptions
- The emotive and the emotional in fieldwork
- Collaborations, collusions, and contradictions
- Partnerships and working with others
- Alternative methodologies
- Naming and negotiating power
- Understanding the researcher self
- Claiming and re-examining privilege
- Race, and racism
- Gender and identity
- Sexuality and fieldwork
- Diaspora and transnational research engagements
- Fieldwork, arms, weapons and security
- Covert missions
We especially invite contributions from a diverse suite of researchers including junior scholars, NGO staff and practitioners whom collectively will span a range of different methods, subjects, and localities. Pending funding, all invited authors will be supported to attend a two day workshop at the University of Bath through which the collection of authors will engage with one another’s work and set the groundwork for a collaboratively generated closing chapter.
Abstracts of no more than 450 words (ca. 1 page) should include the title, the author(s)’ name and institutional affiliation and contact details. Abstracts must clearly state the main focus/topic of the paper, the theoretical orientation (as appropriate), the locality and methodology of the fieldwork drawn upon, as well as a few sentences on how the paper fits the theme of the call. The editors will ask the authors of selected papers (max. 6-8000 words or 15-20 pages) to submit their final articles no later than November 30, 2015.
- Dr. Althea-Maria Rivas, University of Bath, United Kingdom
- Dr. Ann Laudati, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Timeline for Contributions:
- Deadline for abstracts: 15.06.2015
- Selection of abstracts by editors/decisions out: 15.07.2015
- Deadline for papers: 30.11.2015
Note: Once papers are submitted they will be reviewed and authors might be asked to revise their submissions in a given period of time.