Title: Decidedly visceral moments: emotion, embodiment and the social bond in ethnographic fieldwork

Authors: Erica Southgate

Addresses: School of Education, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia

Abstract: This paper is a reflexive analysis of emotion, embodiment and the social bond in ethnographic fieldwork conducted as part of a study of risk practices amongst sex workers in Australia between 2002-2005. Organised around Scheff's concept of primary emotions – love, grief, joy and shame – the paper draws on field notes from the study to develop a hidden ethnography of the emotional border crossing that can occur during ethnographic research and how this impacts upon the researcher's subjectivity and subsequent interpretation of the fieldwork experience. The paper contests the prevailing positivism of public health research which privileges realist accounts of research and the idea that fieldwork occurs in a linear manner.

Keywords: ethnography; sex work; emotion; embodiment; reflexivity; social bonds; risk practices; Australia; primary emotions; emotional borders; subjectivity; public health research.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2011.045964

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2011 Vol.4 No.3/4, pp.236 - 250

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 19 Mar 2012 *

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