Unpleasant relations during fieldwork: just deal with it?
From «Machismo» in the field to «Machismo» in Academia
Unpleasant, conflicting or awkward relations between researchers and informants in anthropological fieldwork settings are complicated and delicate matters to define. What is an unpleasant relationship and for whom? How to approach this problem without being ethnocentric, especially in places that differ significantly from our own cultural setting? How to handle conflicting situations without endangering relations in the fieldwork setting and thus the research? Although this article cannot provide an answer to all those questions, I realized it is important to pay attention to this topic after I had a problem with one of my own informants during my fieldwork. It made me aware of the profound effect this can have on the wellbeing of the researcher, and hence on the research. I also realized how much this issue is being tabooed in academia and it puzzled me why.