Is the Ground we stand Common? (dis)entanglements of human-relationships as shaped during a fieldwork project disrupted by the pandemic'

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This paper will reflect on the (dis)entanglements of the relationships as shaped during the presenter’s fieldwork research disrupted by the pandemic. It aims to illuminate the contested nature of the notion of ‘common ground,’ as experienced during my fieldwork before the outbreak of the pandemic, the online communications with interlocutors during the first lockdown, and the new conditions informing our interactions as realized in the first ease of restrictions in June 2020.

Fieldwork research has been a vehicle to make connections with people ‘across the border.’ Given that my interlocutors had already crossed the external Greek/EU border, the ‘border [to be] crossed’ was the one constructed by the asymmetrical positions that the researcher [as Greek/EU citizen] and the interlocutors [as asylum seekers] occupied.

Working with refugees seeking asylum in Greece and sheltering in refugee-reception centres involved physical communications that would enable sharing moments transcending the asymmetries imposed structurally. The outbreak of the pandemic and the consequent restrictions to movement to limit its spread, reinforced the [social and spatial] division between citizens and asylum seekers, by instructing citizens to ‘stay at home’ and refugees to ‘stay in camp,’ overlooking the living conditions and the social realities exemplified by each place. Sharing was replaced by online exchanging different experiences of being locked-down. Resuming physical communications was underpinned by the reinforced boundaries, reminding us of the distinct spheres we occupied and casting a shadow over our inter-actions
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2021
EventCommon Ground : Postgraduate Conference - Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 202129 Jun 2021
https://commongroundsymposium21.wordpress.com/common-ground-2021-programme/

Conference

ConferenceCommon Ground
Abbreviated titleCommon Ground Postgraduate Conference 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period28/06/202129/06/2021
Internet address

Keywords

  • asylum seekers
  • Fieldwork
  • pandemic
  • refugees

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