Master’s Research: References, Part 9


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Burneo, Z. 2011. El Proceso de Concentración de la Tierra en el Perú. Coalición Internacional para el Acceso a la Tierra.

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Crabtree, J. 2002. “The Impact of Neo-liberal Economics on Peruvian Peasant Agriculture in the 1990s.” The Journal of Peasant Studies. 29 (3-4): 131-161.

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Duneier, M. 2011. “How Not to Lie with Ethnography”. Sociological Methodology. Vol. 41: 1-11.

Dona, A. & Arvanitoyannis, I. 2009. Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 49 (2): 91-124.

Drinot, P. 2014a. “Introduction: Peru in Theory” In, Peru in Theory (ed.) Paulo Drinot. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

————. 2014b. “Foucault in the Land of the Incas: Sovereignty and Governmentality in Neoliberal Peru” In, Peru in Theory (ed.) Paulo Drinot. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Estrada, E. & Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. 2013. “Living the Third Shift. Latina Adolescent Street Vendors in Los Angeles.” In Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age. (eds.) Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, Anna Romina Guevarra, Maura Toro-Morn & Grace Chang. University of Illinois Press.

Ewen, W. B. S. & Pusztai, A. 1999. Effects of Diets Containing Genetically Modified Potatoes Expressing Galanthus nivalis Lectin in Rat Intestine. Lancet. (9187): 1353-1354.

Goldman, J. M. & Turner, D. M. 2011. Introduction. In (eds.), M. J. Goldman, P. Nadasdy, & M. D. Turner Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies, (pp. 1-23). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Graham, C. & Kane, C. 1998. “Opportunistic Government or Sustaining Reform?— Electoral Trends and Public Expenditure in Peru, 1990–1995.” Latin American Research Review. 33: 67–104.

Habermas, J. 1970. Toward a Rational Society; Student Protest, Science, and Politics (Trans: Shapiro, J. J.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press (Originally published 1968).

Hale, Charles R. 2002. “Does Multiculturalism Menace? Governance, Cultural Rights and the Politics of Identity in Guatemala.” Journal of Latin American Studies 34(3): 485-524.

Hatanaka, M., Bain, C. and Busch, L. 2005. “Third-party Certification in the Global Agrifood System.” Food Policy 30. 354-369.

Hays-Mitchell, M. 2002. Resisting Austerity: A Gendered Perspective on Neoliberal Restructuring in Peru. Gender & Development. Vol. 10(3): 71-81.

Hess, J. D. 2007. Alternative Pathways in Science and Technology: Activism, Innovation, and the Environment in an Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hine, C. 2007. “Multi-Ethnography as a Middle Range Methodology for Contemporary STS.” Science, Technology, & Human Values. Vol. 32(6): 652-671.

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Kinchy, A. 2010. “Anti-Genetic Engineering Activism and Scientized Politics in the Case of “Contaminated” Mexican Maize.” Agric Hum Values. 27: 505-517.

Kinchy, A. 2012. Seeds, Science, and Struggle. The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kinchy, A., Kleinman, D. L. & Autry, R. 2008. “Against Free Markets, Against Science? Regulating the Socio‐Economic Effects of Biotechnology” Rural Sociology. 73 (2): 147-179.

Kuper, A. 2003. “The Return of the Native.” Current Anthropology. Vol. 44(3): 389-402

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Luker, K. 2010. Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences:  Research in an Age of Info-Glut. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Marcus, G. E. 1995. “Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of the Multi-Sited Ethnography.” Annual Review of Anthropology. 24: 95-117.

Marshall, C. and Rossman, B. G. 2016. Designing Qualitative Research, Sixth Edition. SAGE Publications.

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Pelletier, L. D. (2006). FDA’s Regulation of Genetically Engineered Foods: Scientific, Legal, and Political Dimensions. Food Policy. 31 (6): 570-591.

Pellow, N. D. & Brehm, N. H. 2013. “An Environmental Sociology for the Twenty-First Century.” Annual Review of Sociology. 39: 229-250.

Quark, A. A. 2012. “Scientized Politics and Global Governance in the Cotton Trade: Evaluating Divergent Theories of Scientization.” Review of International Political Economy. 19(5): 895-917.

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Roschelle, R. A., Toro-Morn, I. M. & Facio, E. 2010. “Toward a Feminist Methodological Approach to the Intersection of Race, Class, and Gender: Lessons from Cuba.” Advances in Gender Research.  Vol. 14: 357-380.

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Master’s Research: Methodology, Part 7

Research Design

In order to prepare an accurate account of the GMO moratorium in Peru this project will rely on multi-sited and macro ethnographic research methodologies. These strategies and techniques will each be theoretically informed by the feminist research qualities of reflexivity, positionality and reciprocity. The research goal will be to garner important opinions and perspectives from a myriad of stakeholders who are involved with the moratorium on GMOs—such as farmers, scientists, activists and politicians. These individual (micro) accounts, from multiple positions (this could be geographic, ideological and/or epistemological) in the spectrum of involvement with the moratorium, will then be extended outward or “bumped up a level of generalizability” (Luker 2010) and couched within larger (macro) and theoretical understandings of the production, usage, and governance of GMOs in the global world system. By doing so, this ethnographic project will map the multiple trajectories—their genesis, passageways and destinations—of governance, knowledge production and indigeneity as they occur within the Peruvian neoliberal field.

Multi-Sited & Macro Ethnography

In qualitative research, there are two types of ethnography: single sited and multi-sited. The latter separates itself from the former because it “moves out from the single sites and local situations of conventional ethnographic research designs to examine the circulation of cultural meanings, objects, in diffuse time-space” (Marcus 1995: 96). In other words, it is a mobile ethnography that examines multiple trajectories of socio-cultural phenomena across multiple sites. In doing so, multi-sited ethnographic methodologies complicate and extend the ‘them-us’ dualistic framework of single site ethnography, and work to break down the binary between “individual lifeworlds” and the world system. In short, “multi-sited research is designed around chains, paths, threads, conjunctions or juxtapositions of locations in which the ethnographer established some form of literal, physical presence, with an explicit, posited logic of association or connection among sites (Marcus 1995: 105).

Complimentary to multi-sited ethnography are the tenets of extended or macro-ethnography. In a comparison to canonical and positivistic styles of social research (i.e. survey design), Burawoy (1998) describes reflexive research as “a model of science that embraces not detachment but engagement as the road to knowledge” (p. 5).  Macro-ethnography applies this quality of reflexive social science and works to embed itself within localized peoples, processes and phenomena. The process then expands itself, extends outward, to include macro, external forces and eventually once more to subsume higher echelons of theoretical thinking. Burawoy (1998) describes this process, “reflexive science starts out from dialogue, virtual or real, between observer and participants, embeds such dialogue within a second dialogue between local processes and extralocal forces that in turn can only be comprehended through a third, expanding dialogue of theory with itself” (p. 5). Even more explicitly, Burawoy (1998) explains, “the extended case method applies reflexive science to ethnography in order to extract the general from the unique, to move from the “micro” to the “macro”, and to connect the present to the past in anticipation of the future, all by building on preexisting theory” (p. 5, emphasis in the original).

Garnering Informants & Preserving Consent

            This research project will attempt to replicate the fluid qualities Marcus and Burawoy’s multi-sited and macro-ethnographic research designs. When it comes to sampling Duneier (2011) explains, “one of the most popular ways to gain access in ethnographic research is known as convenience sampling: phenomena are included in a study on the basis of their availability, rather than through random sampling” (p. 1). In other words, this strategy will allow what is occurring in the field to inductively inform who is chosen for interviews and what social phenomena is chosen for observation and analysis. This technique will be combined with Quark’s (2012) sampling strategy. In her study about scientized politics and global governance in the cotton trade, she explains, “my sampling strategy for interviews aimed to capture variation both within different nodes of the commodity chain and across different geographic locations […] to this end, I interviewed actors in each of the key nodes or positions within the cotton trade…” (Quark 2012: 905).

For the present research project, key informants will conveniently be chosen from throughout the different levels of involvement with the GMO moratorium. In this case, multi-sited variation will be attained because of the geographic separation between rural areas, where farmers live and work, and urban areas, where politicians and scientists tend to work. Ideological and epistemological variation will also be attained by including various stakeholders with dissimilar beliefs, opinions and ways of knowing—both about the neoliberal political climate and the highly scientific characteristics of biotechnology. Instead of allowing canonical research guidelines to control my sample and sampling size, I will follow Hine’s (2007) advice and focus on diversity as the key insight for good ethnography—allowing saturation of data to be my signal for an appropriate sample size and successful data gathering process. By doing so, this research project—in line with the expansive merits of multi-sited and macro-ethnography—will stretch the notion of conventional single-sited ethnography and other forms of positivistic social science research. Hine (2007) explains, “our methodological instincts are to clean up complexity and tell straightforward linear stories, and thus we tend to exclude descriptions that are faithful to experiences of mess, ambivalence, elusiveness and multiplicity” (p. 663). However, social science research is inherently messy and “fundamentally nonlinear” (Marshall & Rossman 2016: 65). Instead of attempting to purge research of messiness, the research design for this project will embrace the sometimes chaotic and iterative research process as normal and inevitable qualities of social life.

However, it is absolutely crucial to know that the potential disorderliness of this project will not negatively impact the informants who are selected for interviews or the spaces that are chosen for observation. The consent and security of all participants and locations will be preserved according to mandated IRB protocol. In a discussion on feminist ethnography, Stacy (1988) explains the unfortunate reality of ethnographic research, “field work represents an intrusion and intervention into a system of relationships, a system of relationships that the researcher is far freer than the researched to leave” (23). I intend to manage this intrusion by always, first and foremost, obtaining consent from all my informants.  In fact, this project will go one step further in order to protect an informant’s right to non-participation by practicing what Ellis (2007) calls ‘process consent’. She defines process consent as the action of checking at each stage of research whether or not participants still want to be included. By doing so, I am able to hold my research accountable for only including informants—and their highly valued personal stories, thoughts and opinions— who want to be included, and who have some piece of information that advances my research. In addition, and according to IRB protocol, any and all interview transcripts will be electronically filed and password protected. The field notes I create will use codes and pseudonyms to ensure anonymity amongst my informants and the locations I choose to observe. If names of my interview informants are needed in the final written portion of the project, I will encourage the informants to create pseudonyms and name themselves. This will help preserve their humanness, by avoiding identification numbers, and their agency, by being in charge of how they are represented in the final product.

Master’s Research: Part 1

In case any of you didn’t know, along with being a PCV I am also a Master’s student at Illinois State University. I am one of the last to receive what’s called a Master’s International Degree in Applied Community & Economic Development. My program is offered through the Stevenson Center at ISU. It is designed as a multidisciplinary Master’s experience where students specialize in one discipline but receive training in others. For example, I study sociology specifically, but took classes in the economics, political science and anthropology departments. The colleagues in my cohort, as you might expect, are economists, anthropologists and political scientists. Some of them, like me, are PCVs completing service while others complete their professional practice in the States.

What all this means is that on top of my work for my community and for the Peace Corps, I am also completing my master’s research on side. As of now, I am in the process of getting my research approved by my university as well as my country director for the Peace Corps. Once those approvals are processed, I will begin collecting qualitative data through in-depth interviews and observations. And to be honest, what I have prepared in the form of a research proposal will probably look a lot different than my final product. The messiness of my type of work– the necessity for iterative and inductive data collection– often transforms what the researcher thought they were going to get wrapped up in.

The reason for this post is to begin sharing what I am up to with respect to my personal research. I would like to begin sharing segments of my research proposal (it’s long, ~45 pages) in the hopes that whoever is reading might learn more about the country of Peru and how my brain operates within my speciality of environmental sociology. So with that being said, I present to you my baby (today we’ll just start with my abstract).

The Peruvian Moratorium on GMOs: Mapping Trajectories of Governance, Knowledge Production and  Indigeneity in a Neoliberal Context


On December 9, 2011, under the Presidency of Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), the Peruvian government approved Law No. 29811 establishing a ten-year moratorium on genetically modified organism (GMOs). In general, the moratorium eliminates the importation of genetically engineered seeds used for agriculture. The reasons for the GMO moratorium are convoluted, stemming from a myriad of related stakeholders and their respective interests. However, two foci create the backbone of the moratorium: the protection of rich Peruvian agricultural biodiversity and the perpetuation of farming techniques and lifestyles attached to the biodiverse landscape. Adding to these arguments, the implications of the Peruvian moratorium on GMOs can be further analyzed from various scientific, socio-cultural and political foundations. This paper will attempt to expound upon the varied perspectives of the moratorium and construct a multi-sited ethnographic narrative of the people, places and politics involved in the ten-year moratorium on genetically modified organisms.