URGENT CFP: ‘Doing Geography with ‘vulnerable’ people: ethics, methods and practice’

social-and-cultural-geography(received and published)

URGENT CFP: for contributions to a Special Issue of Social and Cultural Geography ‘Doing Geography with ‘vulnerable’ people: ethics, methods and practice’.

Due to author ill-health we have a couple of slots in a proposed special edition of Social and Cultural Geography that are available for interested authors.  Our proposal has been accepted subject to normal peer review of papers, and we hope to i go to print in 2016.  We are expecting to submit the papers together for review next month, so require submission of fully papers by Friday 20th March.

Our special edition proposal is outlined below.  We are particularly looking for contributions that compliment the current spread of papers.  Research participant groups of particular interest include: research with the very elderly, those experiencing significant ill-health (mental or physical), marginalised ethnic or religious groups, victims of abuse or other crime, and papers around death, dying and bereavement.  We are also particularly interested in papers from outside the UK and North America. However, we encourage submission of abstracts from any authors with relevant papers near submission-ready.

Interested authors should send an abstract post haste to n.vonbenzon[at]lancaster.ac.uk or l.c.vanblerk[at]dundee.ac.uk.  Decisions on inclusion will be made on a rolling basis with a very quick turnaround.


Proposal for Social and Cultural Geography Special Edition: Doing Geography with ‘Vulnerable’
People: Ethics, Methods and Practice.

Guest Editors: Nadia von Benzon and Lorraine van Blerk

Research with marginalised people has become prolific in social and cultural geography and cognate disciplines.  This research concerns the experiences of a variety of groups of people who might be viewed as less powerful members of society, for example: children; the elderly, substance abusers; those living in poverty; the disabled and ill; refugees and asylum seekers; and indigenous or rural communities.  Participatory research and aligned ethical approaches emphasise the need for contributions from research subjects themselves (Pain and Francis, 2003), requiring researchers to engage directly with marginalised people.  Although methodologically and ethically, this approach is now deemed necessary, researching directly with marginalised people does present a variety of methodological, ethical and practical challenges to the researcher. These challenges stem from the fact that marginalised people may be deemed to be less powerful in the research relationship, than the researcher, and therefore vulnerable.  Whether participants view themselves as vulnerable, or are deemed vulnerable by those considered responsible for their welfare, this construction of vulnerability presents a ream of challenges from research design and participant recruitment through to participant confidentiality and the ownership and dissemination of data.
The papers in this special edition consider aspects of the ethical, methodological and practical concerns of conducting research with people viewed as vulnerable.  Authors draw on their own experience of carrying out research in this context, focusing on key issues that arose in their recent projects.  The papers do not intend to present a best practice guide, but rather to highlight the sorts of dilemmas faced during research with marginalised people, and to present an honest and thought-provoking discussion of the ways in which these researchers approached the problems they faced.  It is hoped that by speaking across the boundaries of multiple ‘geographies of’, drawing on experiences from research with different marginalised groups, geographers may gain broader and deeper insight into the challenges faced in conducting this sort of research.  In turn this should contribute to the development of approaches that might mitigate potential harm to research participants whilst producing empirically sound and useful data.
Pain, R. and Francis, P., (2003), Reflections on participatory research, Area, 35, 1, 46-54


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