1st Edition

The Entanglements of Ethnographic Fieldwork in a Violent World

Edited By Nerina Weiss, Erella Grassiani, Linda Green Copyright 2023

    This book focuses on the emotional hazards of conducting fieldwork about or within contexts of violence and provides a forum for field-based researchers to tell their stories. Increasingly novice and seasoned ethnographers alike, whether by choice or chance, are working in situations where multidimensional forms of violence, conflict and war are facets of everyday life. The volume engages with the methodological and ethical issues involved and features a range of expressive writings that reveal personal consequences and dilemmas. The contributors use their emotions, their scars, outrage and sadness alongside their hopes and resilience to give voice to that which is often silenced, to make visible the entanglements of fieldwork and its lingering vulnerabilities. The book brings to the fore the lived experiences of researchers and their interlocutors alike with the hope of fostering communities of care. It will be valuable reading for anthropologists and those from other disciplines who are embarking on ethnographic fieldwork and conducting qualitative empirical research.

    1 Entanglements of fieldwork: an introduction

    Nerina Weiss

    2 Unspeakable:silences and silencing around fieldwork amid violence 

    Samira Marty

    3 Drawing on your inner anthropologist: some tools for violent and difficult ethnographic fields

    Ivana Maček

    4 A cautionary and hopeful tale about experiencing, thinking with, writing through, reflecting on, and teaching the emotional in ethnographic fieldwork

    Jastinder Kaur

    5 The fieldwork of never alone: reframing access as relationships of care

    Cari Tusing

    6 ‘You are one of us’, but I wasn’t: managing expectations and emotions when studying powerful security actors

    Erella Grassiani

    7 Conversations about violence during fieldwork in Colombia

    Colleen Alena O’Brien

    8 Staying sane and safe in Israel/Palestine: a foreign researcher’s reflections on fieldwork across boundaries

    Andreas Hackl

    9 Involved and detached: emotional management in fieldwork

    Anna Hedlund and Steven Sampson

    10 On Catalina’s silence and the things about her I still do not know how to say

    Simone Toji

    11 Side effects: how fieldwork and ethnography helped me reclaim my life

    Molly Hurley Depret

    12 Violent experiences, violent practices: caring and silence in anthropology

    Lena Gross

    13 Hospitality and violence: writing for irresolution

    Aya Musmar and Ann-Christin Zuntz

    14 Getting closer to the skin: writing as intensity, writing as feeling

    Omer Aijazi

    15 Cherry blossoms and grilled lamb

    Eva van Roekel Cordiviola

    16 Making common cause: Ethics a politics, anthropology as praxis: an afterword

    Linda Green


    Nerina Weiss is Senior Researcher at the Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research in Oslo, Norway.

    Erella Grassiani is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

    Linda Green is Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, USA.