This article discusses the relationship between the researcher
and a field affected by armed conflict. Based on ethnographic research
in Sri Lanka during the ceasefire of 2002, it investigates how deep polarization
that emerges in the course of a violent conflict determines the
researcher’s scope for positioning vis-à-vis the different groups. The
article argues that the unpredictibility of the research site necessitates
careful navigation of the self and requires thorough reflection on the
consequences of particular moves at the point of decision making. In
order to maintain relationships with different sides, there is a need to
deal carefully with sensitive issues, both during and after fieldwork.
This article pleas for a balance between pragmatism and ethics.