New article: Ethical Concerns in Activist Ethnography: the Case of Ukrainian Protest Activism in London and a Russian Female Researcher

This paper aims to discuss some of the ethical quandaries
that arise in the process of qualitative research on social protest, and
explores the challenges posed by negotiating the engaged researcher’s
national/ethnic origin and gender in the course of fieldwork. It focuses
on an ethnographic study of Ukrainian protest activism in London
during the Euromaidan and Russia’s intervention in East Ukraine,
conducted by a female Russian researcher in 2013–2014.
While fieldwork created challenges for the ethnographer, both
as a Russian national participating in Ukrainian protests against
Russia’s military aggression, and as a female subject to some sexist
treatment from male activists, it reflected the multifaceted nature of
the researcher’s positionality and shifting power relations in the field.
These experiences linked to broader questions, such as the
complicated relationship between Russian and Ukrainian identities
that has been existing in Ukraine’s history and has become tenser in
the current conflict, and problematic gender issues connected with
women’s participation in Ukrainian activism. “Taking sides” as a
researcher provided insights into and personal experience of the
problems and tensions associated with the movement. Provided that
some distance is kept from the participants in the course of political
protest ethnography, and critical reflection is employed at all stages,
engaged research is a valid and valuable approach to accessing rich
ethnographic material.

 

The article can be downloaded here.

This is one of the contributions to the special issue of the Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet
Politics and Society (Vol. 2, No.1, 2016): Gender, Nationalism, and Citizenship in Anti-Authoritarian Protests in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

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