NCCR North-South Dialogue No. 16

by Nathalie Gasser
Bern, NCCR North-South 2007

This annotated bibliography focuses on literature con-cerned with strategies for conducting field research in social contexts characterised by highly polarized conflicts. This is a topic largely neglected by the literature on qualita-tive field research. The bibliography consists of literature that is mainly, but not exclusively, concerned with field research in violently divided societies. Reflections on the subject are shaped by two main disciplinary approaches: (1) social anthropological research, and (2) “applied” development-oriented research. From a historical perspective, social anthropology is the discipline from which the practice of systematic field research emerged, mainly through the method of participatory observation. It is therefore not surprising that most of the literature dealing with the subject of field research in violence-prone areas stems from this discipline. 
However, despite an ever-increasing body of literature concerning new anthropological theories and perspectives on violence on the one hand, and general methodological issues on the other hand, little has been published on the practical implications and methodological challenges that confront a social anthropologist conducting field research in a conflict setting. Sensitive methodological issues tend to be discussed in personal conversations between researchers rather than documented for a wider public. This annotated bibliography provides an overview of the existing literature in both fields described above. A thematic index of authors can be found at the end of the bibliography.

Gasser N. 2007. Conducting Field Research in Contexts of Violent Conflict. An Annotated Bibliography. NCCR North-South Dialogue No 16. Bern, Switzerland: NCCR North-South.


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