It is difficult to understand people's stories if researchers do not go beyond the labelling and categorisation that is common in all contexts. Those who live outside inner-city communities in Jamaica often do not understand the loyalty that is shown by inner-city residents to actors whom outsiders dismiss as cruel and violent perpetrators. This briefing note reinforces the importance of delving beyond society's labels in order to effectively research why people think and act the way they do. Choosing to engage with violent offenders raises serious ethical issues, which researchers in Jamaica contemplated and responded to in diverse ways.
IDS Bulletin (2009) 40 (3) 97-99 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2009.00045.x]
Researching with ‘Violent Actors’: Dangers, Responsibilities and Ethics