When I began researching the elites who purposefully shape, influence and manipulate our perceptions of war in 2004, it never occurred to me that they may at some point be taking an interest in the dirty laundry pile of my internet browsing and Facebook chats. Today I am researching in a different world where the NSA and GCHQ spy on NGOs and journalists at the touch of a button and could be watching me through my laptop camera as I am typing this, if they believe me to be a ‘threat’.
If Amnesty International or The Guardian might be spied on as a source of intelligence or even considered a radical ‘threat’, then so could any of us. When researching the powerful it is important to keep information secure. One may need to present a professional persona, contacts may be trying to influence you beyond the interview room, and how a researcher is perceived by their interviewees may be very important in shaping their responses.
I have organised this workshop because I’ve become intimately aware our research methodologies must acknowledge and adapt to this research environment and the best way to do that is to work together.