Pacing emotional labour of qualitative research in an intractable conflict environment

Bundhoo, Dilshaad ORCID: 0000-0003-0262-9868 and Lynch, Kenneth ORCID: 0000-0002-5296-2864 (2021) Pacing emotional labour of qualitative research in an intractable conflict environment. Area, 53 (1). pp. 47-55. doi:10.1111/area.12640

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Qualitative field research in any type of terrain calls for a practice-oriented reflection on the researcher’s emotional labour management in relation to the context of the field before, during and beyond data collection. Intractable conflict environments (ICE) are characterised by long running social crises still unresolved. This particularity makes such contexts risk-prone in terms of unpredictable dangers and unexpected outcomes, hence, the requirement for thorough ethical evaluation of field research designs. Field researchers, often working on their own, are expected to safely make ethically sound decisions while gathering high quality data within complex social realities of which they are often socio-culturally unaware. This inevitably exacerbates the emotional burden on the researchers and makes fieldwork challenging. Although feminist geographers have significantly contributed to highlighting the social dynamics of fieldwork by initiating and deepening discussions of the emotional and ethical challenge, discussions have rarely gone beyond underlining the need for recognition of the field researchers’ emotional labour. Despite academic consensus for reflexive analysis and field diary keeping, little has been discussed on how to systematically manage this effort during the research process. In this paper, building on the first author's PhD fieldwork experience in Israel and the West Bank area, we propose a paced field research organisation method – PFROM – which systematically accommodates time and space for the researcher’s engagement with and detachment from the intensity of the field research. Applying the concept of pacing – intentionally distributing focused attention in such a way that will reduce fatigue prior to the completion of a task – this framework systematically integrates reflexivity within research designs. The PFROM provides researchers with a tool applicable beyond the context of intractable conflict locations which has the potential to enhance their emotional labour management.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotional labour; Pacing; Engagement; Detachment; Intractable conflict; REF2021
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Kenny Lynch
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2020 15:35
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

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