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Far from Being “Home Alone”: The Dynamics of Accompanied Fieldwork

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Despite persistent images to the contrary, most fieldworkers are accompanied. Yet, there has been limited discussion on the nature of accompanied fieldwork, particularly by geographers. Drawing on our experiences in three countries in the tropics, we discuss the dynamics of being accompanied in “the field” by our children and female co-researchers. Specifically, we focus on issues of access and rapport; the impacts of their presence on our positionality; and the implications these have for power relations and research outcomes. We demonstrate how being accompanied entangles our personal and professional selves and can result in more egalitarian power relations as we become “observers observed”. We argue that by paying attention to the dynamics of accompanied fieldwork, there is the potential to enhance the conceptual focus of our methodological concerns and to provide a more theoretically sophisticated mode of exploring the ways in which our multiple identities intersect while in “the field”.

Keywords: Costa Rica; Indonesia; Nicaragua; accompanied fieldwork; positionality; power

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Canterbury, New Zealand 2: University of Victoria at Wellington, New Zealand

Publication date: July 1, 2003


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