Getting Closer to the Skin: Writing as Intensity, Writing as Feeling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the last eight years, my research has revolved around the extraordinary stories of ordinary people striving to make life possible despite overwhelming structural constraints. My interlocutors reside in geopolitical edges and borderlands where environmental and political fragility and hyper-intersecting forms of violence coalesce into the daily burdens of living. I have argued that the violence of colonial occupation, militarization, and environmental disasters are rarely definitive ruptures of some coherent lifeworld but part and parcel of the ongoing labor of making life viable (see Aijazi, 2020, 2016). To enable this, I have tried to give primacy to the lived intensities of my interlocutors over some predetermined theoretical gaze. This assumes that using people’s lives as raw material to understand something particular, despite its advantages, must also be understood as a form of epistemic violence. And that writing storied lives in ways that seem incomplete, faulty, elaborate, is a project worthy of pursuit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Entanglements of Ethnographic Fieldwork in a Violent World
EditorsNerina Weiss , Erella Grassiani , Linda Green
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print) 978-1032333816
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • affect
  • ethnographic writing
  • violence
  • reciprocity
  • reflective practice
  • storytelling
  • vulnerability
  • fieldwork
  • witnessing
  • feeling
  • emotional labour
  • narrative writing

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


Dive into the research topics of 'Getting Closer to the Skin: Writing as Intensity, Writing as Feeling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this