Research

 

You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1600 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
 

Books: Research

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This chapter examines some of the double binds or contradictions which shape Roma lives, particularly those of women. These contradictions became particularly susceptible to analysis during the COVID-19 pandemic: borne at the junction between structural constraints from without and norms and hierarchies from within, these double binds have been made more salient by the strengthening of rules and by the rampant antigypsyism that the pandemic engendered. However, contradictions warrant further attention even in less ‘exceptional’ times, as they reveal connections and breaking points between the various layers of social belonging – statal, ethnic and familial – that ethnographic work captures. The chapter focuses on a conservative or ‘traditional’ Roma group in southern Romania, both before, in situ and remotely, during the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows how members interiorize and attempt to solve the contradictions that encroach onto their lives under the guise of ‘capability’, an emic term signifying one’s resourcefulness to navigate competing demands even at great personal cost and under the permanent threat of ‘trouble.’

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This chapter revolves around the impacts of the pandemic outbreak on a Bosnian Roma community living in a state-run campo nomadi on the periphery of Rome. Methodologically, the chapter shows that the pandemic has evidenced and even augmented the role of digital technologies in contemporary social life and in research. More than before the pandemic, researchers carrying out ethnographic fieldwork must be aware of the interconnectedness between online and offline worlds, and must incorporate digital technologies as both objects of and tools for their research. The chapter also addresses the dilemmas faced by a researcher with regards to the public denunciation of structural disadvantages witnessed during fieldwork. Politically engaged researchers need to pay attention to how the communities they study do politics. Researchers must follow the communities’ lead when deciding whether to speak against societal injustices – and so make some issues visible – or to remain silent.

Open access

Reflecting on the problems encountered when attempting to gather data remotely during the pandemic, this chapter examines the importance of previous fieldwork experience and of the embodied knowledge acquired through it. The chapter discusses the transformation of roles and relations between ethnographer and research participants in contexts where remote methods become dominant. When oral accounts and second-hand testimonies take precedence over first-hand observation, the act of looking becomes displaced. The researcher becomes blind but intensifies their listening while participants become commentators and analysts. How should these data be processed? How should ethnographers evaluate participant accounts when they cannot assess them against direct observation? The chapter argues that the multiplication of second-hand sources becomes essential, enabling researchers to compare competing discourses and accounts.

Open access

The integration of collaborative methods into project design and implementation is a growing ethical concern within Romani-related research. This chapter features a dialogue between a non-Rroma scholar and a Rroma activist. They reflect on the opportunities and challenges arising from a research project in which they collaborated to create an ethnographic record of Spanish Rroma’s experiences during the COVID-19 health crisis. The chapter interrogates the role of academia in reinforcing or questioning (mis)representations of Rroma groups and offers insights into how Rroma activists and scholars in the field of Romani studies may work together in joint endeavours. In the conversation, the global COVID-19 pandemic is suggested as a disruptive event with the potential to lead researchers to question the usefulness of their research and involve themselves in explicit forms of politically engaged scholarship.

Open access

How can the social sciences be an arena where positive social changes are achieved and not just discussed? How can social science help to shape social priorities in the post-pandemic world? These are immediate, practical questions for scholars planning and implementing research projects. Any answer must necessarily revolve around methods, since change starts close at hand, in the immediacy of one’s daily work, and it starts with practice and action, not with theory and argument. By paying close attention to research methods, it is possible to carry out engaged research – research that is relevant, reflexive, responsible and responsive – even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Open access
Lessons from a Time of Crisis

EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

This collection scrutinizes the methodological and ethical challenges that researchers face when working with and for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the context of global crises.

Contributors assess the impact of the pandemic on their engaged research, evaluating novel methods and technologies. They reveal how current research practice blurs the borders between activism and scholarship, and they argue the need for innovative collaborations with local communities.

Showcasing emerging aspects of GRT-related scholarship, this book makes a key contribution to larger debates on the positionality of researchers and the politics of research, and affirms the continued value of rigorous ethnography.

Open access

This chapter discusses the transformation of research methods that has been generated or accelerated by the pandemic, and its likely effects on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller-related research. The chapter focuses on the changing roles of researchers and their ethical and political implications. It highlights the affordances and limits of emerging, remote research methodologies and their potential impact on existing power differentials and hierarchies. The chapter suggests that ethnography may become impoverished if it is reduced to the collection of textual and oral data (interviews, online texts and videos). Lastly, the chapter explores the advantages of collaborative research and of the involvement of research participants and assistants when planning, implementing and disseminating projects. It points to problems that may arise from conflicting goals and expectations in such collaborations.

Open access

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated or brought about changes in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller-related (GRT) ethnographic research. This chapter explores the concrete methodological implications of these developments, focusing on a series of key elements: the shifting roles, capabilities and accountabilities of researchers; the development of collaborative approaches to project design, implementation and dissemination; the flexible combination of research methods; the ongoing reconfiguring of ‘the field’ from a locale to an evolving set of relations and processes; the foregrounding of doubt, ignorance and failure in the research process; the transformation of ethnographic writing to incorporate the work and perspectives of non-academic GRT interlocutors; and shifting ideas of what outputs of academic value might look like. The chapter introduces the book as a companion to those interested in GRT issues.

Open access

The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the ‘experimental collaborations’ that guided the authors in designing and conducting a collaborative ethnography of the social and geographical mobilities of disadvantaged European youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter is based on 30 online video conversations between the two authors: an Italian white male postdoctoral researcher and a Romanian Roma woman who spent most of her youth homeless in Madrid. Together, they examine the practical and conceptual implications of collaborative methodologies involving individuals with diverse socioeconomic and experiential backgrounds. They do so by tracing the multiple origins, arrangements and meanings of their collaboration through a deeply reflexive dialogue that recovers and validates their situated memories, emotions and experiences as legitimate sources of ethnographic knowledge. The chapter particularly emphasizes the potential of digital technologies in reconfiguring the modes of ethnographic collaboration, shedding light on the positive role of uncertainty and failure in reducing power asymmetries within participatory research encounters.

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In this chapter, an insider researcher reflects on methodological challenges regarding power, positionality and emotions in a study conducted with Irish Travellers during COVID-19. The chapter highlights a notable gap in the literature on the intersection of emotional labour and insider positionality within Irish Traveller scholarship. It explores three central themes: emotional labour in research, the insider position and the challenges posed by social distancing. The chapter explains how during the pandemic emotions were heightened, leading to unique methodological challenges and opportunities in research with minority groups. On the basis of this reflexive account, the chapter discusses the use of critical participatory action research and a decolonial perspective in a new, post-pandemic research project with Irish Travellers that aims to address their marginalization in research and associated action.

Open access