De-Sanitizing Truth in Anthropology: On Boundaries of Ethnographic Reflexivity, Familiarity and Field Roles in Working With the Survivors of Bosnian Genocide


  • Amina Hadziomerovic RMIT University



In this paper, I reflect on various ethical, practical and methodological challenges encountered in the field during my anthropological inquiry into the legacies of the Bosnian genocide at home and abroad. I focus on the importance of the researcher's honesty and self-reflexive engagement with the subject(s), particularly in sensitive contexts such as genocide. I discuss my experience of negotiating various social roles ascribed to me in the field, and how they shaped my research process. I also consider the methodological challenges of working with difficult stories of surviving the genocide and the absences of family members who perished in it. Drawing upon a mixed ethnography approach in combination with narrative inquiry and elements of participatory action research (PAR), I demonstrate complexities inherent in long-term ethnographic engagement with the community life that almost vanished. I reflexively engage with the question of how we maintain intellectual, emotional and ethical engagement with the subject of research without sacrificing our academic integrity or human connection embedded within these interactions? Subsequently, I argue for a supportive scholarly space that welcomes discussion about vulnerabilities, ambiguities and fears encountered in the ethnographic field and emerging subjectivities which further shape the final interpretation of cultures.


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Author Biography

Amina Hadziomerovic, RMIT University

Amina HADZIOMEROVIC is a PhD student and a researcher within the Social and Global Studies Centre at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is currently finishing her ethnographic study on the subject of the unresolved issue of the missing persons from the Bosnian genocide and its impact on the surviving family members in the diaspora. As a social anthropologist, she focuses on utilizing ethnographic and participatory methods and methodologies in researching vulnerable populations and reverberations of genocide in sociocultural contexts.


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How to Cite

Hadziomerovic, A. (2023). De-Sanitizing Truth in Anthropology: On Boundaries of Ethnographic Reflexivity, Familiarity and Field Roles in Working With the Survivors of Bosnian Genocide. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(2).