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.

Multipositionality in the ‘Field’

Kathy Dodworth


In the conversation above, Professor Mosse contemplates the assumptions underpinning the taking on of different roles in the ‘field’. He explores these ‘strategic engagements’ as a ‘player’, and examines how changing roles forge new relationships. He reflects on the ‘energy’ required to maintain relationships as situations become more complicated. His words resonate strongly with my experiences of shifting positionality during my fieldwork in Tanzania. In this fieldnote, I explore the opportunities and challenges that come with the ambiguity of one’s position by drawing on the story of my rapid entry and exit from my initial ‘host’ organisation in the district of Bagamoyo. This fraught process demanded the constant negotiation of others’ perceptions and expectations, exacerbated by my changing positionality. ...

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