For experienced and inexperienced researchers and practitioners alike, this engaging book opens up new perspectives on conducting fieldwork in the Global South. Following an inter–disciplinary and inter-generational approach, Understanding Global Development brings into dialogue reflections on fieldwork experiences by leading scholars along with accounts from early career researchers. Contributions are organised around six key issues: • Meaningful participation in fieldwork • Working in dangerous environments • Gendered experiences of fieldwork • Researching elites • Conducting fieldwork with marginalised people • Fieldwork in development practice. The experience–led discussion of each of the topics conveys a sense of what it actually feels like to be out in the field and provides readers with useful insights and practical advice. A relational framework highlights issues relating to power, identity and ethics in development fieldwork, and encourages reflection on how researcher engagement with the field shapes our understanding of global development.
Engaging with ‘Elite’ Actors
[Page 122]Section IV: Introduction
Researching ‘elite’ members within society gives rise to particular challenges in the field. Elites enjoy superior social or economic status, and often have the power to shape and define what is relevant or understood to be ‘real’ within a given society or group. In this section researchers discuss the reality of working with elites and the nature of elite relationships. Through these discussions we learn who elites are and how they can be understood in relation to power in different contexts.
Depending on the status and roles of elite respondents, researchers may have both positive and negative experiences during fieldwork. They may, for example, face unsettling truths and realities about research participants, which can lead them to question ...