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Title: For 'emotional fieldwork' in critical geopolitical research on violence and terrorism
Authors: Woon, C.Y. 
Keywords: Emotions
The Philippines
Issue Date: Mar-2013
Citation: Woon, C.Y. (2013-03). For 'emotional fieldwork' in critical geopolitical research on violence and terrorism. Political Geography 33 (1) : 31-41. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In recent years, there have been exhortations for scholars working in the area of critical geopolitics to be more committed in initiating 'primary fieldwork'. These appeals are predicated on the belief that the subdiscipline's apparent over-reliance on secondary (re)sources neglect the ways in which political processes and dynamics 'play out' on the ground. Not denying the validity of such observations, I further argue that critical geopolitics needs to take into account the fieldwork process which can arguably shape the progression and outcomes of research. Drawing on my 'field' research on violence and terrorism in the Philippines, I propose that thinking critically about how emotions are intertwined in the conduct of fieldwork can provide a pathway to appreciate the unpredictable nature of the research process and the wider contexts/agencies that shape research outcomes and knowledges produced. Crucially, the witnessing of violence/terror is emotionally demanding, often bequeathing the researcher with fully embodied experiences of the 'real' situation on the ground. It opens up the researcher to different emotional engagements and connections with his/her respondents, which in turn allows for critical reassessments of issues pertaining to danger, ethics and responsibility. In this sense, 'emotional fieldwork', as I term it, has much to offer to critical geopolitics if incorporated as part of the subdiscipline's methodological consciousness. It not only provides researchers with useful navigational guidelines to traverse the tricky research terrains of working in 'dangerous', conflict-plagued regions but it also provides the basis for weaving more accurate and situated narratives that complements and advances deconstructivist critiques of dominant geopolitical discourses in and around certain locales. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Source Title: Political Geography
ISSN: 09626298
DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2012.11.007
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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