Ethnographic intricacies and non-Western settings

Kazeem, Ganiat (2020). Ethnographic intricacies and non-Western settings. In: ECSCW Conference 2020: (Coping with) Messiness in Ethnography Methods, Ethics and Participation in ethnographic Field Work in the non-Western World, 13-17 Jun 2020, Siegen, Germany.


Ethnography presents a number of logistical and ethical obstacles to researchers. Doing ethnographies in non-Western settings can present unique issues, some of which may threaten the validity of research. The vagaries of cultural affect can influence how permissions are acquired and how research is conducted. Furthermore, the role the researcher plays in field may impact on justification, integrity and representativeness of insights. In this position paper, I assert the need to understand the socio-cultural norms and context of a non-Western setting. I touch on the need to understand and account for social practices and habits which are avaricious rather than cultural but do impact on the research journey. Additionally, I discuss the intricacies of ethical permissions, importance of giving clarity to and accounting for research goals and motives. I also share insights about methods of acquiring permissions and researcher roles alongside some ethical considerations, that give context and veracity to the process and reporting of such research.

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