Invisible but Indispensable in Ethnographic Research
Until recently, anthropological literature on the collaboration between the researcher and his/her assistant(s) was rather scarce – although these helpers in the field are highly involved in our knowledge production. In PhD theses, where sole authorship is required for academic degrees, the work with assistants is mentioned briefly in the methodology parts, but then disappears again in the published books. Working with research assistants raises questions of author- ship, authority and ethical considerations in general (Galizia and Schneider 2005: 8, Gupta 2014). In this contribution we argue that collaborations with research assistants strongly influence our data, its analysis and finally our ethnographic texts. Hence, we promote an ethnographic writing that thoroughly reflects working with research assistants and makes this collaboration more explicit.
All three authors are PhD candidates at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Basel. Andrea Kaiser- Grolimund is conducting her PhD on healthy aging in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Carole Ammann’s project is about women’s imageries of the state in Kankan, Guinea. Sandra Staudacher is writing her dissertation on aging, health, and care in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
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