Fieldwork is a hallmark of geographical scholarship, encompassing all the approaches by which we learn first-hand about the world. Too often, though, fieldwork details—the challenges, the failures, and methodological mash-up used—are left out of geographers’ published work.
This accessible collection brings together 18 of those too-often overlooked stories, and reveals the ongoing vibrancy of geographical fieldwork today. The 32 authors span many of geography’s subfields, and their work incorporates multiple methodological traditions: ethnographic, digital, archival, mixed, and more.
With short, readable contributions, Geographical Fieldwork in the 21st Century offers an ideal resource for students across the social sciences who are wrangling with the process of fieldwork. It shows fieldwork’s core attributes—innovation, commitment, and serendipity—are alive and well. But this collection also illustrates just how fieldwork is changing as our ability to learn about the world is shaped by new pressures of the 21st century neoliberal academy, by the proliferation of new technologies, and by the growing social demand for collaborative, engaged, and ethical scholarship.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Geographical Review.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Fieldwork in the 21ST Century
Kendra McSweeney and Antoinette WinklerPrins
1. The Field and the Work: Hybridity as Mantra and Method
2. A Place for Serendipitous Mistakes? Selling Mixed Methods Fieldwork to Students in a Digital Age
Jacqueline M. Vadjunec
3. Fieldwork Under Surveillance: Rethinking Relations of Trust, Vulnerability, and State Power
Caitlin M. Ryan and Sarah Tynen
4. Deep Listening: Practicing Intellectual Humility in Geographic Fieldwork
5. Trajectories of Personal Archiving: Practical and Ethical Considerations
6. The Podcast-as-Method?: Critical Reflections on Using Podcasts to Produce Geographic Knowledge
Eden Kinkaid, Kelsey Emard and Nari Senanayake
7. Researching Music- and Place-Making Through Engaged Practice: Becoming a Musicking-Geographer
8. Working with Financial Data as a Critical Geographer
9. Doing Strong Collaborative Fieldwork in Human Geography
Noella J. Gray, Catherine Corson, Lisa M. Campbell, Peter R. Wilshusen, Rebecca L. Gruby and Shannon Hagerman
10. When Fieldwork "Fails": Participatory Visual Methods and Fieldwork Encounters With Resettled Refugees
11. Turning Productive Failures into Creative Possibilities: Women Workers Shaping Fieldwork Methods in Tamil Nadu, India
12. Becoming Linked In: Leveraging Professional Networks for Elite Surveys and Interviews
Ryan P. Dicce and Michael C. Ewers
13. Time and Care in the "Lab" and the "Field": Slow Mentoring and Feminist Research in Geography
Martina Angela Caretta and Caroline V. Faria
14. Digital Data and Knowledge Making in the Field
15. Grounding Big Data on Climate-Induced Human Mobility
Ingrid Boas, Ruben Dahm and David Wrathall
16. An On-the-Ground Challenge to Uses of Spatial Big Data in Assessing Neighborhood Character
17. Pruning the Community Orchard: Methods for Navigating Human-Fruit Tree Relations
18. Investigative Ethnography: A Spatial Approach to Economies of Violence
Kendra McSweeney is Professor of Geography at the Ohio State University. Fieldwork has been central to her research on human-forest interaction for three decades. Most recently, she has combined fieldwork with remote sensing and document analysis to understand how and why cocaine transshipment and U.S. drug policy are transforming the biodiverse landscapes of Central America.
Antoinette M.G.A. WinklerPrins is the Deputy Division Director of the Division of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences in the Directorate for Social, Behavioural, and Economic Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation. She is also an adjunct professor of environmental sciences and policy at the Johns Hopkins University. Her research has used mixed methods, including fieldwork, in investigating urban agriculture, anthropogenic landscapes, anthrosols, and smallholder livelihoods primarily in the Brazilian Amazon.