Meandering Through Fieldwork
Ethnography In Post-Tsunami, War-Affected Batticaloa
When I formulated the title for my research project – «Life Beyond Survival» – in early 2004, I did not imagine that I would get as close to its direct meaning concerning life and death as I eventually did. The destruction and suffering caused by the tsunami at the end of that year as well as the deterioration in internal Sri Lankan political relations, had a direct impact on my research. On the one hand, these developments actually helped hightlight my principal interest in exploring social processes for coping with disruption and insecurity in the island’s war-torn east. On the other hand, the notion of survival became particularly meaningful after the tsunami and amidst the daily violent incidents arising from the armed conflict. Conducting research in such a context was often not self- evident and I came to rely to a high degree on improvisation and adaptation.