Gendered Tensions in Fieldwork
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That fieldwork is gendered is widely accepted. The perhaps most explored aspect of gender relations in fieldwork is how women have better access (or are relegated) to “women’s spaces”. However, less focus has been given to how this impacts the researcher herself, and subsequently her research. The discussion of gender dynamics in fieldwork has received even less attention among Nordic gender researchers. Has Nordic exceptionalism left this discussion assumed to be superfluous? As two women junior researchers we wish to bring this conversation into Nordic gender research.
This panel invites contributions which are related, but not limited to, the following broad questions: What can be done at the university level to include discussions of how to prepare for gendered tensions during fieldwork? How does it affect the process of data collection if the researcher feels uncomfortable, insecure, or unsafe? If unwanted experiences do happen, what systems or mechanisms are, or should, be in place for support? Does the neoliberal university with its marketization of research and temporal positions hamper conversations about the researcher’s vulnerabilities? We have taken our own experiences as women as the starting point for this discussion. We understand gender as intersecting with other categories that are structured along axes of power, and we welcome contributions from other minority perspectives which may cause tensions during fieldwork. We especially encourage junior researchers to participate in the conversation.
Eli Melby is a PhD Fellow in Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Bergen in Norway. She holds a master’s degree in Sociology from the Department of Sociology, University of Oslo. She is currently visiting researcher at the Research Centre on Political Action (CRAPUL), University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and has previously been affiliated with the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics, Sciences Po Paris. Melby’s PhD thesis focuses on the gendered dimensions of participation in class-based social movements, with a longitudinal ethnographic study of the Gilets Jaunes movement in France.
Kathinka Fossum Evertsen is a PhD Fellow in Sociology at Nord University. She holds a master’s degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences Po. She has been a visiting researcher with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and with the Centre for Gender and Disasters at UCL in London. Her research interests include questions concerning gender, migration, climate change and knowledge production. Her current research focuses on representations of women in emerging climate change adaptation efforts in Bangladesh.