University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Fieldwork Seminar: Methodologies in the 'field' > Dealing with insecurity in the field: reflections on fieldwork in Laikipia, Kenya

Dealing with insecurity in the field: reflections on fieldwork in Laikipia, Kenya

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In this talk, I will draw on my own experiences doing fieldwork during a period of insecurity and violence in northern Laikipia, Kenya to discuss the kinds of dangers that researchers doing fieldwork often face. I will consider the challenges I faced in reorienting my research to ensure my own safety, and the stress involved in doing so. Not all dangers are so explicit, and so I will also discuss the increasing insecurity of field research more generally, particularly in relation to the problem of research fatigue among populations frequently targeted for research projects. Indeed, some of the personal dangers I faced during fieldwork had resulted from suspicions regarding my presence as a foreign researcher during a time of crisis. A failure to fully inform research participants of research outcomes over the years has, in many cases, resulted in a deep suspicion of researchers that poses a threat to the possibility of fieldwork if ethical procedures are not reviewed.  I hope to discuss some possibilities for alternative engagement with research participants, including the importance of participatory approaches, to ensure the sustainability of fieldwork in the future.’

This talk is part of the Fieldwork Seminar: Methodologies in the 'field' series.

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