Perspectives on Field Research in Security-Sensitive Spaces - Insights from China and the Southern Mediterranean Area
Early career researchers doing fieldwork in spaces that are security-sensitive, either with regards to the political situation, the research topic or the research surrounding, face many challenges during fieldwork. Questions of ethics, power and representation, but also different aspects of safety and possible limitations must be carefully considered if researchers are conducting fieldwork in security-sensitive environments. The article engages with the main challenges and coping strategies for two case studies – research in China and the Southern Mediterranean Area – and is based on interviews and notes from participatory observation collected and experiences made during extensive fieldwork in the respective regions. We critically engage with different forms of security-sensitivity that are 1) politically securitysensitive spaces, 2) topic-related security-sensitive spaces, and 3) insecure spaces of research. The paper lists implications of field research in security-sensitive settings for the research process, provides insight into lessons learnt and best practices and gives general recommendations for early career field research in Political Science.