1st Edition

Geographical Fieldwork in the 21st Century

Edited By Kendra McSweeney, Antoinette WinklerPrins Copyright 2021
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    Introduction: Fieldwork in the 21ST Century

    Kendra McSweeney and Antoinette WinklerPrins

    1. The Field and the Work: Hybridity as Mantra and Method

    Case Watkins

    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

    Natalie Koch

    5. Trajectories of Personal Archiving: Practical and Ethical Considerations

    Gregory Knapp

    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

    Aoife Kavanagh

    8. Working with Financial Data as a Critical Geographer

    Amanda Kass

    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

    Emily Frazier

    11. Turning Productive Failures into Creative Possibilities: Women Workers Shaping Fieldwork Methods in Tamil Nadu, India

    Madhumita Dutta

    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

    Bilal Butt

    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

    Stefano Bloch

    17. Pruning the Community Orchard: Methods for Navigating Human-Fruit Tree Relations

    Megan Betz

    18. Investigative Ethnography: A Spatial Approach to Economies of Violence

    Teo Ballvé


    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.