University of Oulu

Ferdoush, M. A. (2023). Navigating the ‘field’: Reflexivity, uncertainties, and negotiation along the border of Bangladesh and India. Ethnography, 24(2), 176–196.

Navigating the ‘field’ : reflexivity, uncertainties, and negotiation along the border of Bangladesh and India

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Author: Ferdoush, Md Azmeary1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-02


Drawing on a fourteen-month ethnographic fieldwork experience along the border of Bangladesh and India, I offer a narrative of daily challenges and uncertainties in the ‘field’. Highlighting my positionality and reflexivity, I suggest that first, although a researcher may use social capital to gain access, it may raise concerns regarding the genuineness of the participant’s response. Second, with careful attention, unplanned moments and spontaneous conversations can be turned into sources for valuable insight. Third, pushing the boundaries of social norms to attain a textbook example of ‘gender balance’ does not necessarily ‘add value’ to the research; instead, is likely to make it more challenging to access the same population for further research. Finally, I reaffirm that being from the same region with a similar background does not make the researcher an ‘insider’. Rather, their positionality becomes more ‘fluid’ and constantly shifts between an insider, an outsider, both, and sometimes none.

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Series: Ethnography
ISSN: 1466-1381
ISSN-E: 1741-2714
ISSN-L: 1466-1381
Volume: 24
Issue: 2
Pages: 176 - 196
DOI: 10.1177/1466138120937040
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
Copyright information: © Sage Publications. The final authenticated version is available online at