Looking for Women in the Field: Epistemic Ignorance and the Process of Othering

Kathinka Fossum Evertsen
2021 Forum for Development Studies  
In this article, I ask how my challenges in the field can shed light on dynamics that contribute to excluding women as research participants in (climate) migration studies, and investigate the relationship between the absence of women as migrants in literature and challenges of accessing women in the field. Multiple studies have established that womenlike menmigrate, and consequently have called for greater inclusion of women into international labour migration literature. Nevertheless, women
more » ... ill often disappear as research participants within this field. Through an investigation of literature I find that this is because women as migrants are Othered in academia. I build on this insight to investigate the dynamics that may also exclude women as research participants from other subfields of migration research, more specifically the field of 'climate migration'. Next, I reflect on my unexpected challenges in accessing the information about women migrants in coastal Bangladesh. Men in the village, who were gatekeepers in my access to women, were not immediately willing to talk about women's mobility. Rather, they tended to distance themselves from knowing these women, effectively turning migrant women into the 'Other'. Bringing together insights about the Othering of migrant women in both academia and the field, I show how both contribute to upholding systems of epistemic ignorance. I argue that an awareness of such ignorance can be utilized as a tool in fieldwork by lending sensitivity to whom we include and exclude as knowers in our research.
doi:10.1080/08039410.2021.1947365 fatcat:dlzoykamujfbfexcgz3bun47ma