Where the dust settles: fieldwork, subjectivity and materiality in Cairo

Nassar, Aya (2018) Where the dust settles: fieldwork, subjectivity and materiality in Cairo. Contemporary Social Science, 13 (3-4). pp. 412-428. ISSN 2158-2041

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Abstract

This article uses the very materiality of the city, namely its dust, to reflect on the processes of researching and writing about it. By using ‘dust’ as both a material and an imaginative metaphor that assembles architecture, urban space, archives and history, I argue that field environments, in a very material sense, seep through our fieldwork methodologies. Written through a series of four vignettes; this article reflects on conducting archival fieldwork in urban space, as a non-risky methodology, yet within a politically turbulent context where research in itself could be a cause of risk. By acknowledging the very materiality of the field environment, a space is created to reflect on how the field constitutes our subjectivity as researchers, in the city, the archive, or elsewhere. Attention to dust allows us to write with – rather than against – the entanglement of field notes. It makes space for an autobiographic incision and reclaims a subjective voice that writing on being in the field needs. Furthermore, it allows us to trouble the clean and disentangled constructions of our subjectivity as academic knowing subjects through the orchestrated everyday practices of conducting fieldwork.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Identity, Agency and Fieldwork Methodologies in Risky Environments: Guest edited by Monique Marks and Julten Abdehalim
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Aya Nassar
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 10:51
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2018 10:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79783
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