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Jeffrey A. Sluka

The ethnography of state terror is “high risk” research and there are real personal dangers for anyone who conducts fieldwork on this issue. Managing such dangers has particularly become an issue for those conducting primary research with perpetrators of state terror—the “rank and file” who apply the electric cattle prods and pull the triggers—and all of the researchers I know who have taken this path have been threatened in one form or another. Th is article reviews the core literature and latest developments in managing the physical dangers inherent in the ethnography of political violence and state terror, particularly fieldwork or primary research with the actual perpetrators themselves, makes practical recommendations for managing such dangers, and presents some ideas for developing risk management plans or protocols for researcher survival in perilous field sites.

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How to Scale Factional Divisions in Conflict Situations

Finding Perpetrators and Switchboard Operators in Post-Authoritarian Argentina

Antonius C.G.M. Robben

In conducting fieldwork among perpetrators of state violence, it is a major methodological problem to gain access to competing factions within the research population. Ethnographers often succeed in finding access to at least one faction but this successful rapport might then immediately close off other factions that mistrust the ethnographer’s politics, intentions, or alleged sympathies. The ethnographic challenge is to find intermediaries or switchboard operators, as they are called in this article, who have established informal channels of communication between hostile factions. Switchboard operators have the following characteristics: discretion, neutrality, lack of formal power, disinterestedness, trustworthiness, and they act as a conduit of communication. This article describes how switchboard operators were located in Argentina, and how they played a crucial role in my fieldwork among a broad spectrum of military perpetrators who had terrorized the Argentine people between 1976 and 1983 with enforced disappearances and state repression.

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“I Showed You What I Thought Was Appropriate”

Reflections on Longitudinal Ethnographic Research and the Performativity of Dutch Gang Life

Robert A. Roks

ethnographic fieldwork has documented the importance of building relationships during fieldwork, both short-lived and long-term. Regardless of the time spent with informants, establishing rapport is crucial for researchers to obtain any amount of intimate and

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Introduction

Ethnographies of Private Security

Erella Grassiani and Tessa Diphoorn

sovereignty, citizenship, belonging, and exclusion. In this section, we extend this focus by highlighting the innovative insights and advantages of this growing anthropological scope. For decades, the method of ethnographic fieldwork defined the discipline of

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Times of Violence

The Shifting Temporalities of Long-Term Ethnographic Engagement with Burundi

Simon Turner

past, the present, and the future. In the first case, I explore how narratives about genocidal violence changed in the refugee camps from when Liisa Malkki did her fieldwork to when I did mine more than a decade later. In the second case, I follow two

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Pac'Stão versus the City of Police

Contentious Activism Facing Megaprojects, Authoritarianism, and Violence

Einar Braathen

-hop circle Pac'Stão, which alludes to PAC and a violent territory). I conducted the main fieldwork that underlies this article in 2011 and 2012 (see Braathen et al. 2013 ). While I am a male, white, and foreign political scientist, I was assisted in the

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Therese Sandrup

outrage as expressed by Alek during his trial. By revisiting ethnographic data from previous fieldwork among Turkish immigrant families in a Norwegian suburb, I will explore why morally outrageous situations sometimes trigger individuals to act. In seeing

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“Eyes, Ears, and Wheels”

Policing Partnerships in Nairobi, Kenya

Francesco Colona and Tessa Diphoorn

2003 ; Skilling 2016 ; Smith 2015 ; van Stapele 2015 ) have also identified this role taken up by central role of non-state security providers. Based on such studies, we started our fieldwork in Nairobi, Kenya, by primarily focusing on non

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Shadow Soldiering

Shifting Constellations and Permeable Boundaries in “Private” Security Contracting

Maya Mynster Christensen

article builds on 19 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Sierra Leone between 2006 and 2012. By following the same people over time as they move between shifting constellations of shadow soldiering, I have come to discover the significance of

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“What about Last Time?”

Exploring Potentiality in Danish Young Women's Violent Conflicts

Ann-Karina Henriksen

Violence shapes the everyday life of millions of people and has a profound impact on social relations and everyday dispositions. Ethnographic fieldwork, characterized by extended submersion in a social field, has proven valuable for gaining