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The better to break and bleed with : research, violence, and trauma Ariana Markowitz

By: Markowitz, Ariana.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleSeries: Geopolitics.Publisher: Taylor & Francis, 2021Subject(s): MENTAL HEALTH | PSYCHOLOGIC ASPECTS | RESEARCH | TRAUMA | VIOLENCE | WORKPLACE | INTERNATIONAL | UNITED KINGDOMOnline resources: DOI: h10.1080/14650045.2019.1612880 In: Geopolitics, 2021, 26(1): 94-117Summary: This article is part of the small but growing methodology literature on emotion and trauma in social science research, particularly in relation to studying violence. I argue that, on top of shame around mental health in general and a reluctance to turn our gaze toward ourselves amidst the distress and suffering of our research participants, the weight of positivism in academia, even on those researchers who rebuke the paradigm, silences our ability to engage with what we see, hear, do, and feel as we gather information. Breaking this silence, rather than being unscientific or self-indulgent, promotes clarity in the theories, concepts, and methods we develop to make sense of violence as a social phenomenon. Equally important, learning from ‘helping professionals,’ including trauma therapists, human rights workers, and people involved in disaster relief, offers insight into how a trauma-informed ethics of care, grounded in a collective process of seeking and finding guidance and support, might look. I frame this article around a period of fieldwork in El Salvador that forced me to understand depths of misery and violence that I had never seen up close before. As I unravelled in response, I began to reckon with why I was unprepared and then gradually piece myself back together. I continue striving to soothe, fortify, and heal. (Author's abstract). Record #7052
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Geopolitics, 2021, 26(1): 94-117

This article is part of the small but growing methodology literature on emotion and trauma in social science research, particularly in relation to studying violence. I argue that, on top of shame around mental health in general and a reluctance to turn our gaze toward ourselves amidst the distress and suffering of our research participants, the weight of positivism in academia, even on those researchers who rebuke the paradigm, silences our ability to engage with what we see, hear, do, and feel as we gather information. Breaking this silence, rather than being unscientific or self-indulgent, promotes clarity in the theories, concepts, and methods we develop to make sense of violence as a social phenomenon. Equally important, learning from ‘helping professionals,’ including trauma therapists, human rights workers, and people involved in disaster relief, offers insight into how a trauma-informed ethics of care, grounded in a collective process of seeking and finding guidance and support, might look. I frame this article around a period of fieldwork in El Salvador that forced me to understand depths of misery and violence that I had never seen up close before. As I unravelled in response, I began to reckon with why I was unprepared and then gradually piece myself back together. I continue striving to soothe, fortify, and heal. (Author's abstract). Record #7052