Spelen tussen de linies | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1385-1535
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7324


Playing between the lines. A strategy for ethnographic research into safety

Playing between the lines. A strategy for ethnographic research into safety

Research questions influence the position of the ethnographer in relation to the field and its actors. The ethnographic strategy of a detailed study of a specific tribe, youth group, police department or subculture sets an example for field work. However, to study the dynamics between local politicians, residents and professionals, a more dynamic research strategy is needed. Based on a comparative study of local safety in two disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Rotterdam and Antwerp, this article examines the potential of a dynamic position of the researcher between different actors instead of a more static position close by a specific actor (group). To study interaction in the field is to become part of this interaction and use reactions on one’s presence in the field as data. The author concludes that this dynamic position is a useful research strategy to collect data about social relations, social constructions of meaning and power relations in the context of safety.


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