Failed Fieldwork in Senegal: Give Up or Continue?

  • Elizaveta Volkova


Beginning with a discussion around the lack of attention in the literature to honest accounts of failed fieldwork, in this chapter Elizaveta Volkova shares her experience with issues of access that led her to believe that her research was failing. During a particularly unproductive field trip to Senegal to research joking relations among the Joola people, Volkova discovered that admitting to yourself that things are not working and giving yourself time to evaluate why things might be going wrong potentially opens up a whole range of possibilities and possible solutions to anxieties and feelings of failure. She concludes that one of the strategies for successful fieldwork is admitting to yourself that feelings of failure are often par for the course for a novice researcher.


Senegal Access Failure Gatekeepers Joking relations 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizaveta Volkova
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Institut des mondes africainsParisFrance

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