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The emotional entanglements of smartphones in the field: On emotional discomfort, power relations, and research ethics


Truong, Jasmine; Labhart, Florian; Santani, Darshan; Gatica‐Perez, Daniel; Kuntsche, Emmanuel; Landolt, Sara (2019). The emotional entanglements of smartphones in the field: On emotional discomfort, power relations, and research ethics. Area:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Despite human geographers’ growing recognition of the need to explore how digital technologies are increasingly co‐producing geographies, the methodological implications of such forms of data production are rarely discussed. This paper explores how smartphones co‐constitute fieldwork when they are used as research instruments. Drawing from a research project on young people's nightlife in Switzerland, we use Ahmed's ideas of emotions to show how smartphones are not inert research tools but emotionally entangled in the field. We argue that doing research with smartphones visibly in fieldwork has an effect on the relationships between the people, practices, and places of the field site. More specifically, we propose that these effects of emotions call for a renewed scrutiny of research ethics, particularly as smartphones increasingly become part of research designs.

Abstract

Despite human geographers’ growing recognition of the need to explore how digital technologies are increasingly co‐producing geographies, the methodological implications of such forms of data production are rarely discussed. This paper explores how smartphones co‐constitute fieldwork when they are used as research instruments. Drawing from a research project on young people's nightlife in Switzerland, we use Ahmed's ideas of emotions to show how smartphones are not inert research tools but emotionally entangled in the field. We argue that doing research with smartphones visibly in fieldwork has an effect on the relationships between the people, practices, and places of the field site. More specifically, we propose that these effects of emotions call for a renewed scrutiny of research ethics, particularly as smartphones increasingly become part of research designs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Geography, Planning and Development
Language:English
Date:18 March 2019
Deposited On:27 Mar 2019 16:01
Last Modified:27 Mar 2019 16:01
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0004-0894
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12548
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDCRSII5_173696
  • : Project TitleDusk2Dawn: Characterizing Youth Nightlife Spaces, Activities, and Drinks
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDCR12I1_150181
  • : Project TitleYouth@Night - A multi-disciplinary multi-method study of young people's outgoing and drinking behaviors

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