Methods On The Move

Security on the Move builds methodologically on practice theory, and operationalizes it by combining classical interviews, the first methodological pillar, with a photo-voice methodology, the second pillar. The use of photos implies that visualization is used as means to foreground subjective experiences, among them also the more emphatic and emotive aspects of security and city making. It is also a method that is radical participatory as the researcher is at large parts absent from the data production, even from the definition of the boundaries of the research beyond the topic.

The project has as a core focus that IDPs will make photos and they will photograph what they associate with security when on the move, during migration and in the city. The use of photos however require caution with regard to achieving dignified and humane portrayals of people and situations amidst vulnerability and insecurity. We organise a workshop to discuss appropriateness of photos, without however imposing our understanding of it. The photographers will in the end decide themselves what they photograph and present to the research team.

The photo-voice method is the building block for our third research pillar, an exhibition. Before a photo is selected for publication to the exhibition, all photos are carefully cross-checked. The exhibition will be travelling to give the photographers the possibility to voice their perspectives to policy makers in Somalia and beyond in Nairobi, London and Oslo. If something is visible in politics, is that we often make politics on behalf of people instead of with them. The travelling exhibition is a tool to attempt to mitigate this and in partnership with the UN-Habitat, the photos and the IDP voices will be distributed and communicated to relevant stakeholders in Somalia and in the international community, and to the interested public, diaspora communities and others.

Researcher Team Ethics

As part of the researcher training for the project “Security on the Move: Everyday Security on IDPs in Four Rapidly Growing Somali Cities” core ethical concerns in field research were discussed, and researchers have received clear instructions to adhere to ethical standards and good practice as defined by the ESRC UK.

The core ethical concerns include:

  • the safety and security of both researcher and interviewee;
  • informed consent of the interviewee to participate in the project;
  • anonymization of all generated data to ensure safety of the informant.
  • autonomy of informant means that s/he can interrupt or withdraw from interview at any time.
  • Respect the rights and dignity of research participants

During the research process, these concerns will in practice imply that, to increase safety, researchers will assess a field-site in teams of two and regularly communicate with each other. They will stay in daily contact with the Sowelpo headquarter in Baidoa and with the Principal Investigator. All interviews will be conducted in locations where the interviewees feel safe, be it their homes, a nearby tea shop, or any other place the interviewees suggest and which is also considered safe by the researcher. Asking IDPs to share their experiences can rouse emotions, cause psychological stress and discomfort. Interviewees will be informed that they should, if they feel uncomfortable, request to interrupt or end the interview. The interviewer will receive training on how to detect stress signals and how to change the direction or slowly end the interview once these signs are detected.