Exploring Sport and Intergroup Relations in Fiji: Guidance for Researchers Undertaking Short-Term Ethnography

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There is a key tension associated with ethnographic explorations into the lives of people in the Global South – ‘outsider’ researchers from the Global North who lack experience of the environments they are seeking to understand. A considered response, therefore, is for scholars to seek physical immersion in a field—to live among those they are trying to understand. Such ethnographic inquiries are optimal when researchers have the capacity to engage over long periods of time. However, in some circumstances, this may not feasible. Thus, questions arise about the veracity of field work investigations that are not only temporally brief but undertaken by scholars who lack local experience. This paper reflects on the experiences of a researcher who was faced with those challenges. It provides guidance as to how scholars might prepare for short-term ethnography (STE) in field work, along with the limitations and constraints of such an approach. The research centered on a sport for development and peace study into intergroup relations and ethnic separatism in Fijian sport.

Sugden is with Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, United Kingdom. Adair, Schulenkorf, and Frawley are with The University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Jack Thomas Sugden at Sugdenj@edgehill.ac.uk.
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