After almost two years of blogging it’s wonderful to introduce something new through the following gush over a research paper.
At the moment I’m reviewing From Patriarchy to Empowerment: Women’s Participation, Movements, and Rights in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (Syracuse, 2007), a collection of papers edited by Valentine M. Moghadam.
Reaching the midway point, it’s been a compelling read thus far; however, M. Laetitia Cairoli’s paper sent me into anthropological raptures – the fieldwork, findings, methodology and insights are simply fascinating.
In general my weakness lies in the inability to gobble academic books with as much gusto as fiction; I can have three of the latter on the go and chew through 100 pages a day.
Give me an academic tome and it’ll take an afternoon to reach page fifteen.
On first sight ‘Girl but Not Woman: Garment Workers in the City of Fez, Morocco’ inspired trepidation, but it proved not only the most compelling of chapters, but possibly the best article I have read in years.
Perhaps it is her ardent dedication to participant observation: interviewing then fleeing to a five star hotel for cocktails was not for this researcher – she worked alongside her respondents for three months in a garment factory, enduring the poor conditions, physical agony, and long hours for meagre pay to gain a true insight.
Academia is rapidly becoming a site of broken dreams and harsh realizations; Cairoli serves as a reminder that there remain plucky and invaluable researchers still in our midst, inspiring research anew.