New Article


Paul Trauttmansdorff, Matthias Leese, and Nina Klimburg-Witjes have published a new article on "Expanding boundaries: Unmaking and remaking secrecy in field research" which has now been published in PARISS: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences.


This paper empirically retraces and conceptualizes secrecy in the study of security. Building on 27 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with social scientists about their field research experiences, we use Gieryn’s concept of “boundary work” to rethink secrecy not as a self-evident separator between clearly demarcated spheres but as something that is negotiated, suspended, or circumvented in social situations. A boundary perspective allows us to highlight how contextualized social interactions draw and redraw lines between what can be known and what remains classified. Our analysis identifies three ways in which boundaries around secrecy can be expanded: fallibility, co-optation, and ambiguity. Explicating and empirically substantiating these forms of boundary work portrays secrecy as continuously performed and reconfigured. The paper contributes to current debates about field research by providing a different conceptual angle: one that favours performativity rather than individual capacity to reflect how access to security sites and actors comes into being.

Read the full-text here.