Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Following Fatigue, Feeling Fatigue: A Reflexive Ethnography of Emotion

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Abstract:  This article takes the emotion of fatigue both as its analytical object as well as a methodological tool to engage in a reflexive ethnography, to question the categorical borders of researcher, researched and the field, in the politicised context of migration studies. I do so by drawing on ethnographic material collected during my fieldwork between Athens, Hamburg and Copenhagen in 2019–2020. This article’s theoretical and conceptual framing is informed by feminist scholarship on emotions, as well as decolonial scholarship in migration studies. By bringing these theoretical threads into the conversation, I study the different qualities of fatigue, amongst others the collective; how fatigue circulates in and through the ethnographic field; and how it shapes relations between refugees, humanitarian aid workers, activists and researchers such as me. Following fatigue across and through its many different instances in this reflexive ethnography of emotions lays bare the uneven emotional geographies that exist and are (re-)produced in the encounters between actors in Europe’s migration control field.

Keywords:  emotion; fatigue; methodology; migration; migration studies; reflexive ethnography



© Mirjam Wajsberg. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.