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.

Gendered Agency in Constrained Circumstances: Researching Women Selling Sex in Kenya

Egle Cesnulyte


In the conversation above, Professor Pearson points towards existing tensions between how Western researchers articulate notions of equality and what is perceived to be a respectful practice in a researched community. Her experience with Thai sex workers – and reflections on how we ask questions, hear answers and interpret them – resonates strongly with my own experiences during field research in Kenya. Professor Pearson argues that feminist researchers cannot afford to hold on to a relativist position and, that while the choices made by individuals within the ‘constrained contours of their lives’ have to be respected, one has to maintain a commitment to the universal equality of rights. I agree with this, ...

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