Empathy and Emotion in Ethnographic Research. Reflections on the Research of the Perception of Death

Ponocná Petra

Abstract

Ethnographic research differs from other types of research by literally
being an embodied experience. The essential part of ethnographic research
is observation and participation, including listening and asking questions
about the lives of people, their experiences, and the meanings they give to
their experiences and lives. Establishing relationships in the field can often
result in an ethical challenge, related to this relationship and to personal
boundaries, as well as to the problem of binding after the ethnographer leaves
the terrain. If the subject of research requires a thorough / deep sensitivity,
the ethnographer finds themselves on thin ice. The researcher can be emotionally
influenced by what they do, by the places they find themselves in, and
by the answers they receive. In this article, I submit my own methodological
reflection on my research on the perception of death in contemporary Mexico
City. I focus on the ways in which emotions and empathy can influence the
relationship between the researcher and the informant. An important part
of the article is the reflection of the overwhelming emotions experienced, and
the actions that must be observed for coping with mental pressure.

Keywords

methodology; qualitative research; emotions; empathy; selfreflection

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Vydání: 20, 2018, 1