Back to the Armchair? Research ethics during the COVID-19 pandemic

Join us for the roundtable discussion on research ethics during the COVID-19 pandemic

A REES Programme Seminar
Thursday 29 April, 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Online with MS Teams

The historical development of ethnography is often described figuratively as a three-stage process from Armchair to Veranda to Tent. The move from armchair to veranda to tent involved a shift, or the ethical turn, in the relationship between ethnographers and their research subjects from a colonial gaze, to the stress put on the subjectivity and agency of the people who are researched. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed most of ethnographers back to the armchair, or to be more precise to their computer chairs, as social life and social research have moved online. This return to the armchair should not lead to the return to (un)ethical practises of early ethnography. How can we conduct our online research ethically? How do we choose a proper platform for our interviews? How can we accommodate the choice of our respondents while following advice from our Universities’ IT departments? How do we manage security and privacy related risks? And more importantly: how do we construct our field and build rapport with our research participants? What are power relations and agency related issues involved?

This roundtable brings together researchers with experience in both in-person and digital ethnography and specialists in ethics and data management in search for answers to these questions and broader reflections on ethics in the age of online social research.

Panellists: Jennifer Blaikie, William Kelly, Agnieszka Kościańska, Nicolette Makovicky, Rowan Wilson. More

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