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Emotions and responses in the field: Lessons from feminist anthropology and psychology


30 novembre-1er décembre

Responsable de l'activité

Fenneke Reysoo


Dalia Zein (Graduate Institute); Claire Sommerville (IHEID)




Fenneke Reysoo (IHEID, Feminist Anthropologist)
Constantin Diederichs (UNIGE, Psychologist)
James Davies (University of Roehampton, Medical Anthropologist and


This workshop aims to bring to light an often overlooked aspect of academic research: dealing with emotional responses that occur during and as a consequence of fieldwork. The emotions that researchers experience in field encounters and the reactions they trigger can range from secondary traumatic stress, feelings of powerlessness when faced with social inequalities, to feelings of guilt in producing academic work that 'objectifies' individuals they connected with. One the one hand, the workshop is a space for discussion on the importance of emotional experiences such as empathy and human relationality as key assets to research, and on the other hand provides tools from psychotherapy on how to maintain a positive emotional boundary that encourages sustainable engagement and prevents burn-out. Feminist scholars have long discussed emotions and emotional responses and deconstructed the emotional/rational binary along with its linking to femininity/masculinity. These critiques remain at the margin of research debates however, and in a field in which intellectual endeavors are central, emotions are often underreported and labeled as non-academic. Additionally, researchers in the social sciences seldom discuss or write about tools or coping strategies to deal with emotions during the full immersion in the field. The proposed two-day workshop will be divided into two parts: First day: theoretical approaches and discussion: lectures on the anthropology and psychology of fieldwork; exchanges and discussion based on the students' written essays about their emotional experiences during fieldwork. Second day: interactive sessions and discussion: role play exercises: simulating fieldwork experiences; applying psychological tools to fieldwork; exchanges and discussion.





Deadline for registration 27.11.2020
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