Seminar 5: The Body, Emotion, Fieldwork: Physicality and Fears.
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The physical nature of fieldwork is seldom considered in research methods teaching or writing, and issues of researcher illness, tiredness or physical boundaries are largely ignored. There can also be fear for our emotional and physical safety and fears about our inadequacy as researchers more generally. This involves consideration of social identities and the construction of perceptions of our roles - by us as researchers, by our respondents, by our project leaders. Shakespeare and Watson (2002) argue that non-disabled people deny their vulnerability and frailty and so what is actually a continuum of impairment and embodiment is translated into a dichotomy of disabled or non-disabled. In the context of this seminar’s themes therefore, we are either fully functioning (effectively disembodied) researchers or we are not. This seminar was not about disability per se, but exploring issues of physicality and fear in fieldwork exposes the unsustainable core of this construction.
In this ESRC and Warwick Business School interdisciplinary event, there was also consideration of the themes and issues that have arisen from the previous seminars in the ESRC series (around training, methodology, gender, ethics and the management of emotions/embodiment) as we explore ongoing discussions. The previous seminars in this series have been based in Britain but involved participants from around the world, and this seminar helped to build closer connections with colleagues outside of the UK by locating in the University of Warwick’s Venice base, the Palazzo Pesaro-Papafava.
PhD students were encouraged to apply to attend this event and several small bursaries of £60 were available. There was no fee for this event for PhD students.
Susan D. Tamondong is a sociologist specializing in poverty reduction, social development and resettlement. She started working as a volunteer with a missionary priest helping the poorest of the poor in Palawan Island, Philippines, and has since worked with the UN, international organizations and multilateral banks in over 25 countries confronting complex issues affecting displaced population, cultural minorities and vulnerable groups. Combining academic research with practical field experience, Susan works as an international consultant while a Visiting Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, UK and currently resides in Tunisia. Email: suetamondong at yahoo dot com
Cinzia (Laurea, PhD) is a Lecturer in Organisation Studies at Aston University. Before joining Aston in 2008 she worked at Keele University. Her research interests and publications are in the fields of Gender and organisation, Managerial identities and gender, Changes in the management of Higher Education, Culture, HRM, Identity and Employee Branding and Team-work. Currently she is working on a project on Employee Branding with Matthew Brannan and Liz Parsons (both at Keele University) and, with Liz, she is working on a research project collating the autoethnographic experiences of women doing research with the political objective to effect the gender order of their workplace.
Caoimhe McAvinchey is a lecturer in drama at Goldsmiths, University of London. Previously, she was a Research Associate with People’s Palace Projects, based at Queen Mary, University of London, an Applied Performance Research unit. Her research interests include performance practice with women in prison in the UK and Brazil, the ethics and documentation of applied performance and interdisciplinary collaboration. She has published articles in the field of applied performance and is working on a book exploring prison, punishment and performance.
Seminar Organisers: Bridgette dot Sullivan-Taylor at wbs dot ac dot uk Deborah dot Dean at wbs dot ac dot uk Sandy.MacDonald@northampton.ac.uk[/email]
Photographs from Seminar 5 held at Warwick University Palazzo in Venice: The Palazzo Pesaro-Papafava, Venice, Italy
Date: Wednesday 26th August, 2009