• Exorcising an ethnography in limbo.

      Vigurs, Katy; University of Derby (Emerald Group Publishing Limited., 2019-01-07)
      I feel haunted; troubled by the ethnography that I conducted some years ago of a new partnership group that was attempting to set up a community learning centre. I’m aware that it doesn’t sound like a particularly alarming research topic, and perhaps that is where some of the issues began. I did not expect an ethnographic haunting to occur. The partnership recruited me less than a year into the creation of the project and I spent two years as a sort of ‘researcher in residence’. The original idea was that I would observe the initial development of the project and then, when the community learning centre was established, I would research the centre’s activities and how they were experienced by village residents. However, fairly soon into the project, problematic dynamics developed within the group, leading to irreconcilable conflict between members. The community learning centre was never established and I was left to piece together an ethnography of a failed partnership. Researching an increasingly dysfunctional partnership was an emotionally exhausting activity, especially when relationships between members became progressively hostile. Managing data collection and analysis at this time was difficult, but I was shocked that, a number of months (and now years) later, revisiting the data for publication purposes remained uncomfortable. I managed to produce my PhD thesis on the back of this study, but I have not felt able to go back to the data, despite there being findings worthy of publication. This ethnography is in a state of limbo and is at risk of becoming lost forever. In this chapter, I explore the reasons for this and discuss lessons learned for future projects.