Editorial introduction methodological mess : doing research in contexts of high variability
Journal nomadic peoples, 2020, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 179-194
PAPPAGALLO, Linda, SEMPLICI, Greta, Editorial introduction methodological mess : doing research in contexts of high variability, Journal nomadic peoples, 2020, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 179-194 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/69814
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
This special issue inquires into the messiness of methodological and epistemological approaches for research undertaken in contexts of high variability. What can variability, also conceived as ‘mess’ in social, cultural, ecological, political and economic realms, teach us about the ways in which we, as researchers and practitioners, look at the world and its inherent relationships, opportunities and constraints? What can ‘mess’ reveal about how we produce knowledge? How do we plan our fieldwork in these contexts? What indicators do we use? How do we relate with our interlocutors and hosts during fieldwork? How does our research influence policymaking? These are some of the questions asked by the articles in this collection. We locate our discussion within debates on ‘messy’ research processes and their policy implications, primarily from the perspective of development studies and applied research, with a focus on pastoralism and Roma studies. Several challenges are encountered when making methodological choices in contexts of high variability. First, existing methodological legacies make it difficult to grasp the ontological and empirical ‘mess’ of everyday life and to translate it into research design and policy practice. Second, once acknowledged, variability makes research more complex. Third, variability is not a favoured principle. Governments, donors and research institutes, that commission research, have a bias for simple narratives to guide and inform decision making. These are some of the concerns explored in this special issue in which we maintain that, if the world we inhabit is messy, our research practices should become messy too.
First published online: 2 October 2020
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/69814
Full-text via DOI: 10.3197/np.2020.240201
ISSN: 0822-7942; 1752-2366
Publisher: White Horse Press
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