STREAM: Doing Fieldwork in the Bureaucratic Academia

STREAM: Doing Fieldwork in the Bureaucratic Academia

The increasing bureaucratization of the academia, particularly visible in the UK, is affecting disproportionately scholars whose research is based on fieldwork carried out in developing and conflict affected countries. Elaborate procedures to obtain travel authorization, rules about booking transport and accommodation and, on top of all, an ongoing process of securitisation of research are increasingly hampering our capacity to produce knowledge in and about Africa. This stream invite scholars to share their experiences, reflect on the current situation and propose ways to deal with the current trend.


Roundtable: Security, risk assessment and ethics: how the Western academia (un)prepares researchers for fieldwork

Chair: Prof. Nic Cheeseman (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom)

  • The Social Construction of ‘Zones of Danger’ in the British Academia: a Researcher’s Personal Odyssey in the Tunnel of Academic Bureaucracy, Piccolino, Giulia (Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom)
  • Code red! Geographies of Ordering and Othering: How Security Mapping Defines Today’s Academic Knowledge Production, Both, Jonna (Institute for History, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands | African Studies Centre Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands) and Bruijn, Mirjam de (Institute for History, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands | African Studies Centre Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands)
  • Ethics, Security, and an Invisible Process: When Fieldwork Gets Wrapped up in Red Tape, Franklin, Sabine (University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom)


Chair: Piccolino, Giulia (Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom)

  • Taxicab Economics: Navigating the ethics of fieldwork in Abidjan, Gamberton, Maggie (University of York, York, United Kingdom)
  • Challenges and Prospects of Doing Archaeological Fieldwork in Nigerian Universities: The case of Ibadan, Adekola, Kolawole (University Of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)
  • Experience and Reflections on Methods and Fieldwork on a History of Marginalised Communities, Kauma, Bryan Umaru (University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
  • Anthropology and Performance Management: Managerialism, Media and Measuring Impact in a South African University, McNeill, Fraser G (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Pretoria, South Africa., Pretoria, South Africa)
  • ‘You’re one of us and you don’t know this?’: Reflections on Positionality in Fieldwork in Ghana, Dery, Isaac (University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Giulia Piccolino ( For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website 

Photo credit: Christian Schnettelker



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