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.

Combining Participatory Tools with Ethnography in Rural Cambodia

Sarah Milne


Professor Robert Chambers’ account of participatory research resonates strongly with my experiences in remote forested areas of Cambodia, where I have worked with indigenous villagers on natural resource management issues for over a decade. My fieldwork in this context has been hybrid in nature, in part due to my mixed role in the field. That is, I have regularly combined being a non-governmental organisation (NGO) worker and advocate on the one hand, and an independent researcher using ethnography and other qualitative social science methods on the other. This mixed role demands an active and conscious combination of applied pursuits, in which knowledge is generated for practical and normative purposes; and more ‘pure research’, in which ...

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