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13 November 2007 @ 12:35 pm
Academic Negotiations  
I know, I haven't posted in a really long time, so I am bombarding you with the second of the day. Maybe that makes up for it a little bit:

Over at the UAE community, people are talking about American researcher Syed Ali's experience of being detained, having his research data confiscated, and then being immediately deported from Dubai in 2006. As a fellow researcher of Dubai (and one whose work is on the sometimes-controversial issue of Asian migration to the Gulf), this event inspired a bit of fear in me, and made me a little more ambivalent about my research site. But, I also have started to think that people tend to exceptionalize the Gulf too much...

So, my question, and I hope to get a good discussion going here, is to academics, researchers, and journalists in general - what kinds of negotiations do you face in your research, in terms of dealing with governmental authorities and restrictions, limitations on freedom of speech, and issues of personal safety? How do you manage to maneuver around these things? Have you experienced any adverse situations in your research sites, or in your "home" sites? Do you exercise self-censorship? How? And what other strategies do you deploy to balance your research with the limitations imposed by the location of research?

OK, that is actually many questions. I have posted my own ways of dealing with some of this before, but others, please respond! I'm interested in the overlaps between the Gulf as a research site and other places.
(Anonymous) on November 15th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
research ethics
That's a really interesting topic that you've brought up. I've been having recently to negotiate my university ethics review board - how much of what you say you will do, do you actually do in the field? can you adequately prepare for any and every possibility you may face in the field? Even in that aspect, some self-censorship may be necessary - both to protect you as an independent researcher as well as your informants, especially if they are marginal members of society liable to be victimized even by the law.