#435 Back and Forth: Knowledge Production and Methodological Dilemmas in the Crowded Fields

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Magdalena Middle name Last name Sztandara
Title PhD Organization / Institution Jagiellonian University Department Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Address Gołębia 9 Postal / Zip code 31-007 Country PL
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

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Abstract title

Back and Forth: Knowledge Production and Methodological Dilemmas in the Crowded Fields

Abstract text

At the beginning of my fieldwork on disobedience and disloyalty of women in public space in (post-)Yugoslav cities, I often heard critical comments about their past experiences with feminists’ researchers. Such issues as deprivation of subjectivity, lack of solidarity, and inequality in relations caused among activists a fatigue and boredom. Those comments led me to reassess my research practice, giving me the opportunity not only to question the methodology and the field itself, but also to reflect on the issue of engagement and solidarity. I began to wonder, what does solidarity mean in my ethnographic encounter? How can I make our meetings relevant to my friends and field collaborators? These questions led me to think about the possibilities, challenges and traps of activist and feminist research strategies. In my paper, I focus on ethnographic practice embedded in transnational ‘crowded fields’, which include dynamics of relations and dependencies between a network of knowledge producers. In order to problematize the emerging field positionalities and solidarities, I propose to examine the methodological approach of ‘militant ethnography’ (Jeffrey Juris), which seeks to move beyond the divide between research practice and politically engaged participation. It rather concerns being among and within the activist network and adopting many identities and roles by constantly shifting between reflective solidarity and analysis. By drawing on my long-term ethnography among activists in (post-)Yugoslav cities, I attempt to shed light on the critical self-reflective research process of embodied practical understandings and experiences of struggles, tensions, fears, solidarities, expectations, joys, and failures.

Conference topic

Panel no. 06 - Feminist-inspired Activist Imaginaries for Making Change: Social Making Legacies and Methodological Framings

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Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-05 14:23h by katarzyna.kosmala

Reviewer decision