Fieldwork and emotions: positionality, method choices, and a radio program in South Sudan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


This chapter offers insight into the ways in which emotions affect our present and future positionalities during fieldwork. While focus on positionality in scholarly literature tends to be on ethnicity, gender, and class, Kerstin Tomiak, conducting fieldwork in a refugee camp in South Sudan, argues it is not only these parts of a researcher’s self that have an impact. Grappling with her own reactions to the deeply emotional responses of her interviewees, Tomiak discusses the role that emotional labor played in her reactions to stories told by research participants. She concludes that experiences made in the field, and the emotions that these trigger, play an important and overlooked part in a researcher’s positionality and in turn affect method choices for research projects going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe politics of conducting research in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationethical and emotional challenges in the field
EditorsLyn Johnstone
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783319955315
ISBN (Print)9783319955308, 9783030070526
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • South Sudan
  • Refugee
  • Positionality
  • Emotions
  • Method choices


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