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Researching a Sensitive Topic in an Unstable Environment: Fieldwork Dilemmas in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provice of Pakistan
Department of Global and Social Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1236-4691
2019 (English)In: Qualitative Research Journal, ISSN 1443-9883, Vol. 19, no 3, p. 248-258Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore fieldwork dilemmas for a Pakhtun researcher, educated in the West, to research family or domestic violence in the unstable, hostile environment of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

A gender studies approach is here combined with masculinities studies, and a critical qualitative research methodology is used in this study.

Findings

The paper argues that unstable regions dominated by certain forms of masculinity require specific research approaches when conducting research and addressing a topic that is culturally taboo.

Practical implications

The paper suggests how the insider–outsider dynamic plays out for researchers who come from a particular field and return to it under changed circumstances. It also indicates how a taboo topic in a context where direct questioning is not possible might be approached through the use of vignettes.

Social implications

The paper suggests how the contradictory position of a masculinity, simultaneously bearing traces of the hegemonic and of marginalization, may be negotiated in the field.

Originality/value

Social research on the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan is rarely conducted and reported due to the unrest in this region. The paper thus contributes original insights from fieldwork carried out there. It also contributes to the limited but growing literature on conducting fieldwork in hostile environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019. Vol. 19, no 3, p. 248-258
Keywords [en]
interviewing, domestic violence, family violence, masculinity, sensitive topic, hostile environment, Pakistan
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-381039DOI: 10.1108/QRJ-02-2019-0013ISI: 000479297800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-381039DiVA, id: diva2:1345545
Available from: 2019-08-26 Created: 2019-08-26 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Griffin, Gabriele
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