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Challenges of ongoing conflict research: Transdisciplinary ethnography in post-2014 Ukraine
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism. (Propaganda and management of information in the Ukraine-Russia conflict: From nation branding to information war)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7943-3076
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, History. (Propaganda and management of information in the Ukraine-Russia conflict: From nation branding to information war)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6835-0862
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The transdisciplinary collaborative project “Propaganda and management of information in the Ukraine-Russia conflict” that the authors are a part of, focuses on the Ukrainian media and uses ethnography as its primary methodology. We have been interviewing various actors involved in production of information flows in the post-2014 Ukraine: journalists, media and security experts, historians, PR-managers etc. What most of the informants pointed to was the recent shift in their perception of their role in the changes that the country is going through: they highlight their roles as activists and change agents in the society. Coming from different research fields (history and media and communication studies), we have been reflecting upon the tension between our striving at academic neutrality and the different disciplinary approaches, as well as unavoidable emotional involvement in the subject we scrutinize. 

The paper is based on auto-ethnography wherein we reflect on the challenges the researchers face when conducting ethnographic research on activists and dealing with such sensitive issues as information warfare and armed conflict. This becomes especially problematic when scholars come from the countries involved in the conflict, Ukraine and Russia. How do our feelings of guilt, shame, anger, affection, attachment, love, interact with our professional goals and with our dealing with the material? How do they influence our interaction with the informants and each other? And how can we empower our informants, while remaining in the framework of academic research?

This analysis contributes to the ethnographic studies on crisis and post-crisis societies. It continues the discussion about the role of emotions in ethnographic research, where we compare our experiences of ethical dilemmas, inspired by, e.g., Hoffmann (2007). Although this issue, in the context of Ukraine, has been partly addressed (e.g., Malyutina 2017),such an auto-ethnographic, self-reflexive work is rare in the Western scholarship that largely applies quantitative methods and focuses on the content, not people’s experiences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Ukraine, hybrid war, ethnography, auto-ethnography, self-reflexivity, transdisciplinarity, interview
National Category
Communication Studies Cultural Studies
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies; Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-36831Local ID: 2015/3.1.1/1417OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-36831DiVA, id: diva2:1266710
Conference
7th European Communication Conference(ECC2018): "Centres and Peripheries: Communication, Research, Translation", 31 October - 3 November, 2018, Lugano / Switzerland
Part of project
Propaganda and management of information in the Ukraine-Russia conflict: From nation branding to information war, The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 56/2015Available from: 2018-11-29 Created: 2018-11-29 Last updated: 2020-02-24Bibliographically approved

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Voronova, LiudmilaYurchuk, Yuliya

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
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