Dans notre article publié dans Mortality récemment, nous discutons le processus complexe de traduire et interpréter le ‘chagrin’ et les émotions dans des contextes multiculturels et interculturels. Nos expériences d’une recherche qualitative menée en milieu urbain au Sénégal, Afrique de l’Ouest, démontrent l’importance d’impliquer les interprètes et les chercheurs sur le terrain dans tout le processus de recherche. Cela nous a permis d’avoir une connaissance approfondie des nuances culturelles des langues autochtones et de comprendre comment celles-ci sont traduites et potentiellement reformulées dans le processus.
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.
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.
Ruth and Fatou are currently doing feedback and dissemination workshops with young people and adults in Dakar and Kaolack. The workshops have been very useful in understanding more about the cultural significance of key phrases like ‘C’est dur’ and feeling ‘alone’ often used by participants when they talked about the emotional aspects of their relative’s death. Ranking exercises have also highlighted key policy and practice priorities which will be discussed further with government, NGO representatives and religious and local leaders in seminars in Dakar and Kaolack.
Ruth recently presented a paper based on our findings entitled, Young people’s responses to the death of a relative: a vital conjuncture that complicates pathways out of ‘waithood’? at a panel session on ‘Pathways out of waithood: engaging with a repertoire of strategies’, convened by Jørgen Carling (Peace Research Institute Oslo) at the European Conference of African Studies in Paris. It was great to discuss our findings with other researchers working on youth in diverse contexts in Africa (see here for more details). Fatou also joined Ruth, Sophie and Jane in Paris for discussions about our analyses and also presented a well received paper on street children in Senegal at the conference.
Ruth recently presented a paper, ‘”Your tears are like pouring hot water on the body”: exploring religious and cultural influences on responses to death in urban Senegal’ in the Geographies of Faith, Spirituality and Religion session (organised by Claire Dwyer, Ruth Judge and Elizabeth Olsen) at the 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies. The paper focused on tears and the expression of emotions in responses to death in the family in urban Senegal, based on our preliminary findings. We also sought to interrogate our cultural assumptions about religious and cultural norms surrounding mourning and the expression of grief. We found it helpful to analyse our findings through the framings of emotional geographies and geographies of religion and received thoughtful questions and comments from colleagues.
We are continuing with our analyses of the interview transcripts, writing summaries of each family and coding the transcripts with Nvivo. Our recent UK Advisory Group discussions were very valuable in helping us identify how our research can best contribute to current debates in death studies, youth in the global South, emotional geographies and geographies of religion. We’ll be developing conference papers on these themes in the coming weeks!
Ruth recently wrote about her experiences of fieldwork for the SAGES Advice blog: Fieldwork, Gender and Careers: ‘In my experience, fieldwork is one of the most rewarding parts of the research process. My qualitative fieldwork with young people and families in Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal and Ghana as well as in the UK has enabled me to develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics and diversity of family life and the importance of reciprocity in caring relations and community support networks. I feel privileged to have been able to listen to people’s life stories, even if only for the duration of an in-depth interview….’