Camp Methodologies: The “How” of Studying Camps
Yolanda Weima, Hanno Brankamp
This special section contributes to the growing interdisciplinary field of camp studies by examining the ways in which scholars methodologically approach and study camps and camp-like spaces. The characteristics of camps, which render them of interest to scholarship in the first place, simultaneously generate methodological, ethical, and practical questions for research. Yet comparatively few studies have explicitly addressed the methods and methodologies in camp research. How do camp contexts shape our underlying research philosophies and how do particular ways of doing research impact our conceptualisations of camps? The contributors to this special section provide a variety of answers to these questions, drawing on empirical research in/on current and historical camp settings. Overall, we gesture towards “camp methodologies” not as a set of prescribed tools, techniques, or epistemologies to be followed when studying camps but as a shorthand for approaches that consider first, how camp geographies delimit research activities and second, how methodological choices in turn (re)construct the camp conceptually in different ways. Ultimately, this collection aims to encourage critical debates and reflections to shed more light on the methodological effects, positionalities, responsibilities, complicities, and continuing necessities of studying camps.