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Understanding Global Development Research
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Understanding Global Development Research
Fieldwork Issues, Experiences and Reflections

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January 2017 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

For experienced and inexperienced researchers and practitioners alike, this engaging book opens up new perspectives on conducting fieldwork in the Global South. 

Following an inter-disciplinary and inter-generational approach, Understanding Global Development brings into dialogue reflections on fieldwork experiences by leading scholars along with accounts from early career researchers. Contributions are organised around six key issues: 

  • Meaningful participation in fieldwork
  • Working in dangerous environments
  • Gendered experiences of fieldwork
  • Researching elites
  • Conducting fieldwork with marginalised people
  • Fieldwork in development practice. 

The experience-led discussion of each of the topics conveys a sense of what it actually feels like to be out in the field and provides readers with useful insights and practical advice. A relational framework highlights issues relating to power, identity and ethics in development fieldwork, and encourages reflection on how researcher engagement with the field shapes our understanding of global development. 

Gordon Crawford, Lena J. Kruckenberg, Nicholas Loubere and Rosemary Morgan
Chapter 1: Global Development Fieldwork: A Relational Perspective
 
Section I: Encountering the Field
Robert Chambers and Nicholas Loubere
Chapter 2: Liberating Development Inquiry: Freedom, Openness and Participation in Fieldwork
Ashish Shah
Chapter 3: Democracy of the Ground? Encountering Elite Domination During Fieldwork
Sarah Milne
Chapter 4: Combining Participatory Tools with Ethnography in Rural Cambodia
 
Section II: Gender and Fieldwork
Ruth Pearson and Rosemary Morgan
Chapter 5: Gender is not a Noun, It’s an Adjective: Using Gender as a Lens within Development Research
Johanna Bergström
Chapter 6: Encounters with Diversity: Reflecting on Different Perceptions of Gender in the Field
Egle Cesnulyte
Chapter 7: Gendered Agency in Constrained Circumstances: Researching Women Selling Sex in Kenya
 
Section III: Fieldwork at the Margins
Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka and Lena J. Kruckenberg
Chapter 8: On the Margins of World Society: Working with Impoverished, Excluded and Marginalised People
Swetha Rao Dhananka
Chapter 9: Encounters at the Margins: Situating the Researcher Under Conditions of Aid
Lorenza B. Fontana
Chapter 10: Marginalisation(s) at the Margins: Studying Identity, Ethnicity and Conflict in Rural Bolivia
 
Section IV: Engaging with ‘Elite’ Actors
Jean Grugel and Rosemary Morgan
Chapter 11: Encounters with the Powerful: Researching Elites
John Osburg
Chapter 12: The Ups and Downs of ‘Studying Up’: Researching Elites in China
Karen M. Siegel
Chapter 13: The Nature of Power in Elite Interviews: Researching Environmental Politics in the Southern Cone of South America
 
Section V: Danger in the Field
Jenny Pearce and Nicholas Loubere
Chapter 14: Under Threat: Working in Dangerous Environments
Scott Naysmith
Chapter 15: Perceiving Threats to Health in the Field: Researching Zoonotic Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface
Nelly Ali
Chapter 16: Children in the Streets: Activism and Representation in Dangerous Fields
 
Section VI: Development in Theory and Practice
David Mosse and Lena J. Kruckenberg
Chapter 17: Beyond the Ivory Tower: Researching Development Practice
Kathy Dodworth
Chapter 18: Multipositionality in the ‘Field’
Lata Narayanaswamy
Chapter 19: Irrelevance Dressed as Success?: Dis-spirited Reflections on Knowledge-based Development
Gordon Crawford, Lena J. Kruckenberg, Nicholas Loubere and Rosemary Morgan
Chapter 20: Towards a Relational Understanding of Development Research

A must read for all students, researchers and aid workers contemplating field work in emerging economies.

Admos Chimhowu
School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester

This is an up-to-date, thought-provoking and well-balanced publication that brings together the best insights of leading and young scholars at the nexus of development and participatory field research. Its relational, ethics- and power-sensitive perspective makes this book special.

Michael Schönhuth
Chair of Anthropology, University of Trier

Gordon Crawford

Gordon Crawford is a Research Professor in Global Development at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, United Kingdom. He has a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Development Studies and a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Leeds. He joined Coventry University in October 2015 after teaching and researching at the University of Leeds from 1993, where he was Professor of Development Politics. He was previously Director of the Centre for Global Development (CGD) at Leeds. His research examines issues of human rights, democracy and development, especially in countries of the Global South, and he has... More About Author

Lena J. Jaspersen

Lena Kruckenberg has a multidisciplinary background in international sociology and organisation studies. She has recently completed a Ph.D. in Sustainability Research at the University of Leeds with a study on the role of partnerships between different kinds of organisations in creating low-carbon development pathways. Results of her critical analysis of how such partnerships can facilitate but also inhibit the adoption of off-grid renewable energy technologies in Central America have been published in Energy Policy and Energy for Sustainable Development. Lena’s current research as an Academic Fellow in Technology Innovation Management... More About Author

Nicholas Loubere

Nicholas Loubere is a contemporary Sinologist and a Development Studies scholar whose research focuses on patterns and processes of local socioeconomic development in China. Currently, he is involved in projects examining the implementation and outcomes of microcredit programmes in rural China; the organisation and management of Chinese cooperatives; the provision and utilisation of internet finance in China; and Chinese migration to Africa. He is also the co-chief editor of www.chinoiresie.info. Before joining the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University, Nicholas was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Australian Centre... More About Author

Rosemary Morgan

Rosemary Morgan is an Assistant Scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health on the project ‘Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs): Building Stronger Health Systems’. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University, Rosemary was a Lecturer in Global Health Policy for the Global Public Health Unit at the University of Edinburgh, and a Research and Teaching Fellow at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development at the University of Leeds, where she worked on two international health projects: ‘Health System Stewardship and Regulation in Vietnam, India and China’ (HESVIC); and the ‘Consortium for Health Policy and... More About Author

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