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Shooting Poachers on Site: Reflections on the Use of Photography in Active Offender Research

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Published
Publication date23/11/2022
Host publicationQualitative Research in Criminology: Cutting-Edge Methods
EditorsRita Faria, Mary Dodge
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer
Pages179-195
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783031184017
ISBN (Print)9783031184000
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Criminology is still coming to terms with the opportunities – and challenges –
related to the use of photo-ethnographic methods in researching active offenders.
Photography provides a range of methodological opportunities, including as a
tool for building rapport, for data collection and analysis, and as a component
of the dissemination of research findings. However, it also poses significant
ethical challenges, particularly in relation to active offenders, vulnerable
populations, and cultural sensitivities. While the literature exploring the benefits
of photographic methods in criminology has expanded significantly in recent
years, reflection on ethical issues and other limitations is less well developed.
This chapter explores the use of photography as an ethnographic tool in active
offender research in the context of our experiences of conducting research
into illegal hunting in Uganda. It outlines the ways in which taking photos
contributed to data collection and analysis and the generation of substantive
research findings. It also reflects on the ethical considerations of photography
as a method in this context, including the risk of harm to research participants
and the (vulnerable) populations they represent. Our conclusion is that while
the use of photography in ethnographic research of active offender populations
should be embraced by researchers, caution should be employed in how photos
are used – particularly as a component of publication.