Volume 10 Issue 2 (2014): Giving Back in Field Research
Limits to Giving Back

The Limits to Giving Back

Jade S. Sasser
University of California, Riverside
Published July 1, 2014
  • fieldwork,
  • research relationship,
  • research ethics,
  • feminist ethics,
  • ethic of care


In this thematic section, authors consider the limitations on giving back that they faced in field research, or saw others face. For some authors, their attempts at giving back were severely limited by the scope of their projects, or their understandings of local cultures or histories. For others, very specific circumstances and historical interventions of foreigners in certain places can limit how and to what extent a researcher is able to have a reciprocal relationship with the participating community. Some authors, by virtue of their lesser positions of power relative to those that they were studying, simply decided not to give back to those communities. In each article it becomes apparent that how and in what ways people give back is unique (and limited) both to their personal values and the contexts in which they do research.