University of Richmond
This paper will communicate a thick description and self-reflective critique of the research methods I used while conducting short-term ethnographic fieldwork at an NGO (non-governmental organization) in Rabat, Morocco. The research initially sought to answer the following question: How does the culture of a Moroccan NGO interact with the culture of its target client populations, and how does this impact the power dynamics of the NGO’s services? However, the ethical dilemmas of the research caused the question to shift to the following: What went wrong over the course of this short-term ethnography, and why? This paper will address my initial research plan and then problematize my methods in an analytical breakdown of the reasons for their failure. It will touch upon time constraints, communication confusions, and a lack of solid field relationships as the main limitations of my methods. Ultimately, this paper provides a self-reflective critical analysis of my problematic implementation of ethnographic methods in a short-term setting at the foundation in Rabat, Morocco and then seeks to locate these critiques within a discussion ethnographic ethics. Finally, it will provide alternative approaches as a guideline for future Students in International Training (SIT) students who want to conduct short-term ethnography for their own independent study project (ISP).
African Studies | Anthropology | Race and Ethnicity | Regional Sociology | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture
Shannon, Natasha, "Where Ethnography Breaks Down: The Ethics, Miscommunications, and Failures of My Independent Study Project" (2017). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 2629.