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Meeting the 'organs': the tacit dilemma of field research in authoritarian states
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography. Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition (SCOHOST), Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Area (London 1969), ISSN 0004-0894, E-ISSN 1475-4762, Vol. 45, no 4, 426-432 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To the regret of many scholars, science and politics often overlap, and nowhere as clearly as inside countries ruled by authoritarian governments, where research tends to attract the surveillance of repressive authorities and, more specifically, of the secret services (known as the organ' within post-communist space). While such surveillance places significant ethical and methodological challenges on field research, it is rarely discussed in the literature. This paper discusses what may happen when the organ takes interest in fieldwork. Based on the author's experiences in a range of post-communist countries, the aim is to present and discuss the related risks, and to show how these may materialise in relation to the organ's (c)overt activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 45, no 4, 426-432 p.
Keyword [en]
post-communism, method, authoritarian states, secret services, fieldwork, risk
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-86342DOI: 10.1111/area.12030ISI: 000330040000006OAI: diva2:698667
Available from: 2014-02-24 Created: 2014-02-24 Last updated: 2014-02-24Bibliographically approved

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