Advertisement

Challenges and Opportunities of Doing Fieldwork as a Woman on Women in Guinea

  • Carole AmmannEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The researcher with his or her multiple identities, his or her background, and habits forms part of the experience in the field and therefore influences data generation. In this chapter, Ammann reflects on how her identity shaped her field research on the women-state nexus in a Muslim West African city. She analyses how she has dealt with gender-related difficulties and opportunities she came across during fieldwork, especially how she adapted her ethnographic approach because accessibility to women proved to be a major challenge. In the conclusion, Ammann argues that flexibility and adaptation are key for ethnographic research. She pleads for more contributions in which not only female but also male researchers reflect on how their gendered presence influences their research settings.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was made possible thanks to the Marie Heim-Vögtlin Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Research Fund Junior Researchers by the University of Basel, the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft, and the Josef und Olga Tomcsik-Stiftung. I thank Djénabou Dramé and Thierno Sow for their collaboration and for sharing their reflections on the topic of this article. I presented this article in a colloquium at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern in November 2016 and I am grateful for the received comments. Furthermore, I am thankful for inputs by Marion Bernet, Ruth Jackson, Max Kelly, Rahel Müller, Aïdas Sanogo, Sandra Staudacher and Frederik Unseld on earlier versions of this chapter.

References

  1. Ammann, C. 2016a. Everyday Politics. Market Women and the Local Government in Kankan, Guinea. Stichproben—Vienna Journal of African Studies 16 (30): 37–62.Google Scholar
  2. Ammann, C. 2016b. Women Must Not Become Lions—Social Roles of Muslim Women in Kankan, Guinea. Journal of Culture and African Women Studies (JENdA) 28: 67–81.Google Scholar
  3. Ammann, C. 2017. Silent Politics. Gender, Imagination, and the State in Kankan, Guinea. PhD thesis, University of Basel, Basel.Google Scholar
  4. Ammann, C., A. Kaiser-Grolimund, and S. Staudacher. 2016. Research Assistants. Invisible but Indispensable in Ethnographic Research. Tsantsa 21: 152–156.Google Scholar
  5. Avishai, O., L. Gerber, and J. Randles. 2012. The Feminist Ethnographer’s Dilemma. Reconciling Progressive Research Agendas with Fieldwork Realities. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 42 (4): 394–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beer, B. 2008. Einleitung. Feldforschungsmethoden. In Methoden ethnologischer Feldforschung. 2. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, ed. Beer, Bettina, 9–36. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.Google Scholar
  7. Büchel, R. 2005. Mama Mia-mia Mama. In Fremde Freunde. Gewährsleute der Ethnologie, ed. C. Beck, R. Büchel, M. Galizia, S. Prodolliert, J. Schneider, and H. Znoi, 92–107. Wuppertal: Peter Hammer Verlag.Google Scholar
  8. Callaway, H. 1992. Ethnography and Experience. In Anthropology and Autobiography. Gender Implications in Fieldwork and Texts, ed. Judith Okely and Helen Callaway, 29–49. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark, Gracia. 2010. African Market Women. Seven Life Stories from Ghana. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, C.A. 2008 [1999]. Reflexive Ethnography. A Guide to Researching Selves and Others. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Delamont, S., and P. Atkinson (eds.). 2008. Gender Roles in Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. deWalt, K.M., and B.R. deWalt. 2011. Participant Observation. A Guide for Fieldworkers. Oxford: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  13. Förster, T., B. Heer, M. Engeler, A. Kaufmann, K. Bauer, and K. Heitz. 2011. The Emic Evaluation Approach—Epistemologies, Experience, and Ethnographic Practice. Basel: Basel Paper on Political Transformations.Google Scholar
  14. Griffin, G. (ed.). 2016a. Cross-Cultural Interviewing. Feminist Experiences and Reflections. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Griffin, G. 2016b. Introduction. In Cross-Cultural Interviewing. Feminist Experiences and Reflections, ed. G. Griffin, 1–12. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Gupta, A. 2014. Authorship, Research Assistants and the Ethnographic Field. Ethnography 15 (3): 394–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Häberlein, T. 2014a. Einleitung. Teilnehmende Beobachtung weiter gedacht. Erkenntnisgewinne durch Reflexionen zur eigenen Rolle in der ethnologischen Feldforschung. Sociologus 64 (2): 117–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Häberlein, T. 2014b. Teilnehmende Beobachtung als dichte Teilhabe—Ein Plädoyer zur ethnologischen Forschung über soziale Nahbeziehungen. Sociologus 64 (2): 127–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huggins, M.K., and M.-L. Glebbeek. 2009a. Introduction. Similarities Among Differences. In Women Fielding Danger. Negotiating Ethnographic Identities in Field, ed. Martha K. Huggins and Marie-Louise Glebbeek, 1–27. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  20. Huggins, M.K., and M.-L. Glebbeek (eds.). 2009b. Women Fielding Danger. Negotiating Ethnographic Identities in Field. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  21. Kleinsasser, A.M. 2000. Researchers, Reflexivity, and Good Data. Writing to Unlearn. Theory into Practice 39 (3): 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, D. 2005. African Gender Research and Postcoloniality. Legacies and Challenges. In African Gender Studies. A Reader, ed. O. Oyewùmí, 381–396. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Moore, H.L. 1993. The Differences Within and the Differences Between. In Gendered Anthropology, ed. T. del Valle, 193–204. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Okely, J. 1992. Anthropology and Autobiography. Participatory Experience and Embodied Knowledge. In Anthropology and Autobiography, ed. J. Okely and H. Callaway, 1–28. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Okely, J., and H. Callaway. 1992. Preface. In Anthropology and Autobiography, ed. J. Okely and H. Callaway, xi–xiv. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Prus, R. 1998. Respecting the Human Condition. Pursuing Intersubjectivity in the Marketplace. In Doing Ethnographic Research, ed. S. Grills, 21–47. Thousand Oaks, London, and New Dehli: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Ralph, M. 2008. Killing Time. Social Text 26 (4): 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. République de Guinée. 2014. Arrêté N° 3015/MP/SG/2015. Portant publication des résultats préliminaires du troisième recensement général de la population et de l’habitation réalisé, du 1er Mars au 02 Avril 2014. Conakry: Ministre du Plan.Google Scholar
  29. Robben, A.C.G.M. 2007. Fieldwork Identity. Introduction. In Ethnographic Fieldwork. An Anthropological Reader, ed. A.C.G.M. Robben and J.A. Sluka, 59–65. Victoria: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. Senft, G. 2008. Zur Bedeutung der Sprache für die Feldforschung. In Methoden ethnologischer Feldforschung. 2. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, ed. B. Beer, 103–118. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag Gmbh.Google Scholar
  31. Shaery-Eisenlohr, R. 2009. Fixing and Negotiating Identities in the Field. The Case of Lebanese Shiites. In Women Fielding Danger. Negotiating Ethnographic Identities in Field Research, ed. M.K. Huggins and M.-L. Glebbeek, 31–46. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  32. Storr, V.H. 2008. The Market as a Social Space. On the Meaningful Extraeconomic Conversations That Can Occur in Markets. The Review of Austrian Economics 21 (2–3): 135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thomson, S., A. Ansoms, and J. Murison (eds.). 2013a. Emotional and Ethical Challenges for Field Research in Africa. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Thomson, S., A. Ansoms, and J. Murison. 2013b. Introduction. Why Stories Behind the Findings? In Emotional and Ethical Challenges for Field Research in Africa, ed. S. Thomson, A. Ansoms, and J. Murison, 1–11. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  35. Viterna, J. 2009. Negotiating the Muddiness of Grassroots Field Research. Managing Identity and Data. In Women Fielding Danger. Negotiating Ethnographic Identities in Field Research, ed. M.K. Huggins and M.-L. Glebbeek, 271–297. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  36. Ward, M.R.M. (ed.). 2016a. Gender Identity and Research Relationships. Bingley: Emerald.Google Scholar
  37. Ward, M.R.M. 2016b. The Importance of Gender Reflexivity in the Research Process. In Gender Identity and Research Relationships, ed. M.R.M. Ward, ix–xvi. Bingley: Emerald.Google Scholar
  38. Wax, R.H. 1979. Gender and Age in Fieldwork and Fieldwork Education. No Good Thing Is Done by Any Man Alone. Social Problems 26 (5): 509–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wiley, K.A.A. 2014. Joking Market Women. Critiquing and Negotiating Gender and Social Hierarchy in Kankossa, Mauritania. Africa 84 (1): 101–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations