Ruth Evans’ Methods in Motion blogpost shows how an approach of ‘uncomfortable reflexivity’ can help to reveal the work of emotions in cross-cultural research. Thanks to the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, The Open University, for publishing this edited version of our original blogpost.
Ruth Evans gave a very well received keynote at the New Social Dynamics in Senegal workshop organised by Aurélien Baroiller, Boubacar Barry & Hannah Hoechner, at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels (13-14 March 2017). Her presentation, “Your tears are like pouring hot water on the body”: Caring for the dead and responses to a family death in urban Senegal, explored the social regulation of grief and how care for the dead is expressed. The workshop provided an opportunity to connect with other academics and researchers working in Senegal and think how best to continue the dialogue in future.
Ruth Evans was pleased to speak at the recent workshop Towards an Anthropology of Grief organised by Aurélien Baroiller, Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium (8-9 March 2017). Ruth’s paper explored the paradox of absence-presence and the importance of time-space practices in understanding continuing care of the dead in urban Senegal. It was an excellent opportunity to discuss the research findings with anthropologists of grief working in diverse contexts globally.
In our latest article in Mortality, we discuss the complex process of translating and interpreting ‘grief’ and emotions in multilingual, cross-cultural settings. Our research in urban Senegal demonstrates the importance of involving interpreters and field researchers throughout the research process. This enabled us to gain insight into the cultural nuances of indigenous languages and how these are translated and potentially re-framed in the process.
Read the full post here.
Although my work was based in the UK for many years, more recently I have welcomed opportunities to research aspects of children’s lives in China, and family experiences of death in Senegal. In these projects, I’m driven by the need to step outside the perspectives of the minority, affluent worlds in which I live, to find out what it is ‘we’/I don’t know. Knowledge needs to be diverse and flexible – while remaining robust – if it is to become something really useful in a complex and often intolerant world in which globalisation and technology increasingly compress time and space, bringing diversities into sharp relief with major human consequences.
Yet short-term qualitative research falls painfully short of the anthropological gold standard of studying diverse peoples by learning new languages and immersing oneself in the field. Researching ‘abroad’ has involved steep learning curves. I have relied heavily on team-working with Chinese and Senegalese academics and with UK researchers already familiar with these contexts. The careful focus on the details of constructing our research has been crucial, alongside an awareness of broader power structures and dynamics that impinge on our work”.
Read the full version of Jane’s Methods in Motion blogpost…
Doing research on ‘sensitive topics’, such as death and bereavement, can raise particular challenges for qualitative and cross-cultural researchers. This is often due to the deep emotions which may be evoked among both participants and researchers, and the ways that emotions are culturally produced. Our new blogpost reflects on the methodological complexities of producing ’emotionally-sensed knowledge’ about death and bereavement in our qualitative research in urban Senegal. It summarises the key messages from our article published in the International Journal of Social Research Methodology.
We are pleased to announce a new call for papers!
For whom and what do we grieve, when and where: : The geo-politics of diverse experiences of death, bereavement and remembrance: human and non-human
Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Annual Conference 2017, London, 29th Aug-1st Sept 2017
Session Convenors: Ruth Evans, Beth Greenough, Phil Howell, Avril Maddrell, Katie McClymont
Sponsored by: RGS-IBG Social and Cultural Geography Research Group and Political Geography Research Group
Politics are at the core of geographies of death, dying, grieving and memorialisation (Johnson 1994; Sidaway 2009; Stevenson et al 2016), with local and national governments acting as key providers of cemeteries and crematoria and commissioners of public memorials; likewise, immigration policy and welfare regimes impact on experiences of bereavement. Yet the politics and political processes surrounding death and how these intersect with socio-cultural differences are under-examined and little articulated. This applies to groups marginalised by monolithic and intersectional exclusion from power; likewise it applies to the politics of what, as well as who is ‘grievable’ in Butler’s (2009) terms: which species, where and when? which environments and contexts?
For these two sessions we invite conceptual, empirical and methodological papers which explore the varied political dimensions of embodied, personal, socio-cultural, geo-political, environmental and species loss through a geographical lens.
We particularly welcome contributions that address the following themes:
· the geopolitics of intersectional migration deathscapes
· cemetery and crematoria needs in multi-cultural society
· minority provision in the face of hegemonic spaces and practices
· gendered, classed and ethnic memorialscapes
· death and bereavement in the global South
· Post-Brexit experience of loss
· cross-species grief
· discursive and physical space for animals, including pets
· memorialisation of war, including civil war and animal death
· Loss of biospheres and habitat
· Dialogue between human and non-human loss
Please send an abstract of 200-250 words to Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by 5pm 6th February 2017.
See RGS-IBG website for further details.
Check out our Storify of the events Ruth Evans organised on Young People’s Psychosocial Wellbeing, Care and Support with ODI, London in November 2016!
We are pleased to announce that a selection of papers presented at the Family Troubles symposium held at the University of Reading, September 2015 will be published in a special section of Children’s Geographies journal, entitled, Family ‘troubles’, care and relationality in diverse contexts, edited by Ruth Evans, Sophie Bowlby, Lucas Gottzén and Jane Ribbens McCarthy. We will keep you posted on progress!
After commenting on the ‘care’ chapter of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) 2016 Flagship report, Ruth Evans was invited to write a blog for the Transformation Conversation blog series. She writes:
“Care is finally receiving more of the attention it deserves in international development policy. Unpaid care and domestic work is explicitly recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. Target 5.4 indicates this recognition should take place, “through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies”. The UNRISD 2016 Flagship report joins calls for unpaid care and domestic work to be recognized, reduced and redistributed (known as the “Triple R” framework) by means of care policies. […]
Rather than using the language of ‘burden’ and ‘dependency’, care needs to be re-framed to recognize the vulnerability and interdependence of us all. While care is often constructed as ‘women’s work’, as part of their so-called ‘natural’ nurturing roles as mothers, children, particularly girls, also take on substantial and regular care and domestic work in households where a parent, sibling or relative has a need for care related to young or older age, disability, chronic illness, mental health or substance misuse. Despite significant research evidence that children’s care work can have a range of negative impacts, as well as some positive impacts, it is often neglected within public policy. Recent research in Senegal has also shown that the death of a parent, sibling or adult relative can lead to increases in young people’s care work, which can have detrimental impacts on their well-being, education and employment outcomes”.
Read more here