The Volunteering Self: Ethnographic Reflections on “The Field”
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This thesis explores the author’s experience of fieldwork in Western Ghana while volunteering to promote gender equality at an elementary school. Analyzing the stages of preparation for fieldwork, situating the self in the field, conducting fieldwork, and returning from the field, illustrate some of the strengths and weaknesses of NGO and volunteer involvement for the combined purposes of conducting ethnographic fieldwork. Reflecting on these processes and the presence of the researcher allows for a critical understanding of issues in the field; such as children’s responsibility and ethnic discrimination. The complex of the researcher’s multiple identities in the field, including volunteer, researcher, and white woman, affect the experience and results of the fieldwork; the significance of which is reflected upon through autoethnography.