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Publication details for Dr Stefanie Kappler

Kappler, Stefanie (2013). Coping with research: local tactics of resistance against (mis-)representation in academia. Peacebuilding 1(1): 125-140.

Author(s) from Durham


Research on fieldwork methods in Peace and Conflict Studies has often tended to examine the tools through which researchers can more easily access information about and from their ‘local subjects’. This article, however, takes into account the ways in which people in conflict/post-conflict societies deal with and resist researchers when they conduct fieldwork. With particular reference to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Basque Country, the article casts light on the mechanisms the researched upon invent and develop to protect themselves from being misrepresented and/or over-researched. The tactics deployed by a variety of actors in deeply divided societies can be considered complex and subtle in that they often draw on hidden transcripts and parallel narratives. The divergences between formal and informal narratives in turn shed light on the agency of the research subjects to frame the ways in which knowledge is produced and represented. At the same time, this calls into question the abilities of researchers to represent local voices authentically unless research is conducted in a self-reflective and critical manner. Against this background, the article explores ways of conducting fieldwork in ethically responsible ways, which are expected to benefit both researchers and research subjects.