Paper: Social justice, ethics, and power-relations - who gets to decide voice and agency in fieldwork?

Paper details

Paper authors Erla Thrandardottir
In panel on Student “field trips” in humanitarian studies–a roadmap for “do no harm”
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


Fieldtrips often aim, pedagogically at least, to introduce students to how knowledge is created by inviting them to reflect on the gap between theory and practice. This can entail reading and preparing for a research topic as well as reflecting on their role in this process bearing context in mind. Although there is considerable material available on how fieldwork is essential for learning how to do research, and how it affects researchers, less material is available on the pedagogical aspect of field trips in development studies. This paper is a reflection on a recent field trip to East Africa with a group of over one hundred masters' students. I will reflect on two things in relation to social justice policies and how these can be contextualised in fieldtrips: (1) ethical challenges pre- and during fieldwork; and (2) risk assessment processes in universities.