Below are a few of my most recent publications. For a complete list, see my CV.
"A groundbreaking contribution and a long overdue publication about the deafening sexual silence surrounding the fieldwork experiences of many women scholars conducting qualitative research in sociology."—Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, author of Family Secrets: Stories of Incest and Sexual Violence in Mexico
"A novel and important contribution to qualitative methodology that will ignite good discussions not only in classrooms but in larger academic settings as a whole."—Junmin Wang, author of State-Market Interactions in China’s Reform Era: Local State Competition and Global Market Building in the Tobacco Industry
Rebecca Hanson and Patricia Richards. 2021. "La etnografía corporizada en tiempos de pandemia: ¿A dónde vamos desde aquí?" LASA Forum 52(1):24-28.
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
¿Cómo podemos usar las maneras en que la pandemia ha llamado la atención a las vulnerabilidades corporizadas para pensar acerca del poder, la corporalidad, y el trabajo de campo? ¿Cómo podemos repensar cómo entrenamos a los estudiantes y cómo pensamos acerca de la ética, basado en los problemas subyacentes expuestos por la COVID-19? Para los y las etnógrafas como grupo, la pandemia ha abierto un espacio de interrogación. Los que estaban acostumbrados a entrar al campo con poca o ninguna preocupación por su seguridad se han visto obligados a poner más atención a la vulnerabilidad del cuerpo y al agotamiento que produce tener que considerar constantemente cómo el cuerpo se pone en riesgo. Pero sin una llamada concertada por una autoexaminación colectiva, es probable que esta conciencia se desvanezca cuando las señales más visibles de la susceptibilidad de nuestros cuerpos se vuelvan normalizadas y algunos vuelvan a rutinas que borran el cuerpo de consideración cotidiana
Verónica Zubillaga and Rebecca Hanson. 2021. “Shoutings, Scoldings, Talkings, and Whispers: Mother's Responses to Armed Actors and Militarization in Two Caracas Barrios”. Working Paper, Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
How do mothers deal with chronic violence and the constant presence of guns in their neighborhoods? How do they relate to the armed actors who inhabit their neighborhoods? How do they build situated meaning and discursive practices out of their experiences and relationships with armed actors? We compare the experience of women in two poor and working-class neighborhoods in Caracas. La Caracola, with a long history of civic organizations and drug trafficking, suffers regular, extortionate actions by the police. La Piedad has been ravaged by militarized police operations, which have produced a "warfare mode" among the members of organized criminal groups. Through this comparative ethnographic project we aim to show how, in the midst of state-sponsored depredation and with an overwhelming presence of guns in their lives, women use their traditional cultural roles as mothers to perform everyday forms of resistance vis-à-vis the different armed actors that impose their presence in the barrios. We focus on how women make and communicate meanings; engage in social networks with other women; and employ different discursive strategies as they deal with the armed actors. We foreground women’s experiences in two barrios, asking what material and historical conditions make these different experiences possible. In the mothers’ daily struggles, dramatic discursive actions—from more openly oppositional, such as shouting, scolding, and talking, to more hidden ones, such as, both “circulating gossip” and “captive gossip” to more helpless ones, such as whispering—are their main resources in the micropolitics of their neighborhoods.
Rebecca Hanson. 2019. “Gender & Urban Ethnography”. In Research in Urban Sociology, eds. Richard E. Ocejo and Ray Hutchison, pp.173-192. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.
In this chapter, I analyze how the intersection of geographic and social locations shapes ethnographic relationships in urban areas. While early urban ethnographers were acutely aware of the importance of geographic location, I argue that researchers’ social locations were ignored, obscuring how their bodies and social identities lead to different forms of knowledge about the metropolis. I use data from a two-year ethnographic research project conducted in Caracas, Venezuela as well as interviews conducted with women qualitative researchers to consider gendered dynamics of fieldwork experiences and data collection. Using a framework of embodied ethnography, which posits that all ethnographic knowledge is shaped by researchers’ bodies, I argue that men and women confront similar but distinct challenges while conducting fieldwork, and discuss what this means for data collection in cities. Specifically, I focus on how social control mechanisms, the gendered meanings attached to researchers’ bodies, and geographic barriers in urban areas can facilitate and restrict fieldwork. Critiquing hegemonic standards within ethnography that encourage researchers to leave their bodies out of their tales of the field, I advocate for the incorporation of gendered research experiences in our ethnographic writing with the aim of producing more complete narratives, but also to better prepare future ethnographers for fieldwork.
Veronica Zubillaga and Rebecca Hanson. 2018. “Del punitivismo carcelario a la matanza sistemática: El avance de los operativos militarizados en la era post-Chávez” REVISTA M. Estudos sobre a Morte, os Mortos e o Morrer 3(5): 32-52
Este ensayo, basado en dos investigaciones cualitativas en curso, plantea que para comprender el aumento reciente de las muertes violentas en Venezuela y específicamente en Caracas en el período post Chávez, tenemos que colocar en el centro del análisis los discursos y las prácticas de un actor privilegiado como lo es el Estado, en un contexto de colapso de los precios petroleros. Se propone que esta inusitada violencia letal puede ser comprendida por el impacto que ha ocasionado, dentro del histórico proceso de militarización de la seguridad ciudadana, un punitivismo carcelario que con el pasar de los años ha venido abriendo el paso y yuxtaponiéndose a una práctica de matanza sistemática extralegal implicada en la extrema violencia policial y militar de operativos militarizados focalizados en los sectores pobres. Esta avanzada militar, se puede decir, forma parte del avance de una necropolítica en el país en tiempos de Revolución Bolivariana post-Chavista.
Rebecca Hanson. 2018. “Deepening Distrust: Why Participatory Experiments Aren’t Always Good for Democracy” The Sociological Quarterly 59(1): 145-147
Previous research has devoted extensive attention to the ways in which participatory initiatives—whether “successful” or “failed”—can be good for democracy. Participation, it is argued, can generate social capital and educate citizens in democratic practices. However, much research on participation has selected on the dependent variable, looking at cases that have produced empowerment and claims on the state to understand outcomes. Using ethnographic and interview data collected with struggling organizations in Caracas, Venezuela, over the course of three years, I examine the long-term effects of these organizations on community relationships. I show that participatory experiments can increase mistrust and distrust between neighbors; divert claims away from state institutions and transfer frustration and blame onto the community; and delegitimize participatory politics for both participants and nonparticipants.
Rebecca Hanson and Pablo Lapegna.* 2018. “Popular Participation and Governance in Kirchner’s Argentina and Chavez’s Venezuela: Recognition, Incorporation, and Supportive Mobilisation” Journal of Latin American Studies 50(1): 153-182.
How did governance in Kirchner's Argentina and Chávez's Venezuela interact with popular mobilisation? How have popular sectors engaged with and participated in Left-of-centre governance? Using ethnographic data, we argue that the answers to these questions lie in three social mechanisms that we call recognition, incorporation and selective mobilisation. We analyse how activists and participants interpreted and contested these mechanisms, paying attention to how they informed the everyday life of activism and the situated actions of participants. Underscoring their socially embedded and path-dependent nature, we argue that these mechanisms shaped mobilisation differently in each country.
Rebecca Hanson and Francisco Sánchez. 2019. “Venezuela’s Popular Sectors and the Future of a Country” NACLA, February 13. Republished in Spanish, February 20.
Tim Gill and Rebecca Hanson. 2019. “How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela” The Nation, February 8.
Rebecca Hanson and Tim Gill. 2019. “Venezuela at Another Crossroads” NACLA, January 24.
Rebecca Hanson. 2018. "Deciphering Venezuela’s Emigration Wave" NACLA 50 (4): 356-359.
Rebecca Hanson. 2018. “Four Charts Show Venezuela’s Worsening Migrant Crisis” The Conversation, September 6.
Rebecca Hanson and Leonard Gómez Núñez. 2018. “Behind the Scenes of Venezuela’s Deadly Prison Fire” The Conversation, April 4.
Rebecca Hanson. 2017. “Protecting the Right to Life in Venezuela” NACLA 49(3): 309-314.
Rebecca Hanson. 2016. “Venezuela Opposition’s Police Reform Law Seeks Decentralization and Increased Firepower” Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, December 11.
Rebecca Hanson. 2016. “Why are Police Officers Dying in Venezuela?” Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, September 20.
Rebecca Hanson. 2016. “Human Rights Watch and PROVEA Release Devastating Report on Venezuelan Citizen Security Initiative” Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, April 18.
Rebecca Hanson. 2016. “Amid Crisis, Venezuela’s National Assembly Proposes Security Reforms” Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, February 9. Republished by Insight Crime, February 10.