Overview of procedures

ORIGIN AND PURPOSE

We (Grace and Rixey) want to better understand what street medics do in militarized crisis by comparing what happened in the hundred days after Hurricane Sandy and the hundred days after the death of Mike Brown. We plan to analyze about 40 archived documents and record interviews with street medics and other activists as part of this research. We will share our results with the street medic community and present our findings to the 2015 Anarchism and the Body conference at Purdue University and the 2015 American Public Health Association annual meeting in Chicago. We may publish our findings.

METHODS

  • Gateway Region Action Medical (GRAM) in Saint Louis is providing oversight for this project.
  • In addition to GRAM's oversight, we actively work to be accountable and transparent to the street medic community via (1) monthly stakeholder updates, (2) periodic (at least once) emails to major street medic email lists, (3) periodic phone conversations with more than a dozen medics about procedure and major concepts, (4) maintaining a public web page with proposals, procedures, and contact info for us and advisors.
  • Street medic interview participants are oral history sources and co-investigators, not human subjects. For this reason, they may choose to be named in the project.

"A Political Medicine" — Medic practices in Ferguson that resisted depoliticization

  • We did grounded theory line-by-line theoretical coding of documents in the document pool until saturation, looking for practices, "the political," silences, and evasions; we memoed to develop concepts and suggest relationships.
  • We read and talked with each other, our community advisors, and other medics to develop a working description of "the political" and suggest how it relates to street medic practices. We documented our reading, conversations, and thought over time with memos.
  • We are conducting open-ended interviews to challenge and clarify the emerging concepts and relationships; we are collecting basic demographic data from interview participants.
  • We will do line-by-line theoretical coding of interview transcripts until saturation, looking for practices, "the political," silences, and evasions; we will memo to develop concepts and suggest relationships.
  • We will share the presentation draft with stakeholders (including advisors and interview participants). We will present at Anarchism and the Body. We will invite comment, feedback, and disagreement, especially from street medics and people who worked with street medics in Ferguson or Saint Louis.

"Responding to Crisis Without Militarizing It" — Medic practices in Ferguson and NYC that resisted militarization

We plan to repeat our document analysis, interviews, and demographic data collection with the Hurricane Sandy document pool and stakeholder group for this paper. We plan to develop a working description of militarization and to look for demilitarizing practices in the documents.

DATA COLLECTION RATIONALE

Documents

We collected documents relevant to street medic practices and political commitments in the situations under investigation. We limited our dataset to documents that were previously published or distributed via street medic email lists. The documents grounded us in data about how street medics presented themselves to other medics and how medics were percieved by news reporters. We developed our basic categories and theory through line-by-line analysis of documents.

Demographic surveys

We are using a survey to collect demographic and attitude information from interview participants. Categories include race, local/out-of-town status, language/national heritage, gender, age, and income/wealth/credit. We only ask identifying questions about race and local/out-of-town status, as these two categories concretely relate to our questioning and theorizing the documentary data. Questions about the other categories are limited to non-identifying information, and are intended to alert us to whether we missed perspectives on the data that matter to interview participants.

Interviews

We are interviewing a small non-random sample of street medics and people who worked with street medics in Ferguson. The interviews invite a wider circle to join us as co-investigators by sharing their memories of street medic practices and their speculations about street medic political commitments. Interview participants were recruited (a) because we thought they would be interested in the project and could help us explore questions that emerged from our analysis of the documents, (b) because GRAM members Andrea and Marta thought they would be interested in the project and could help us explore questions that GRAM members have voiced, or (c) because they responded to an open call sent to stakeholders and street medic email lists.

Comments

We will invite street medics to respond to our presentation draft, continuing the conversation we engaged in through interviews. We will share the draft with stakeholders directly and via street medic email lists. We will ask medics to discuss it with their collectives and respond by asking questions, challenging our narrative or conclusions, or offering other reflections and comments. Their and our reflection will help drive the next cycle of data collection and analysis.

PROJECTED RISKS

Emotional risks

Talking in a group for an hour about the intense days of last summer and fall may be healing or distressing. We do not expect it to be more distressing than situations and conversations routinely encountered in everyday life. In case the interview brings up unresolved situations or emotions, we have provided all interviewees with information about how to reach sympathetic phone, chat, and in-person counseling.

Risk of police or legal harrassment

Research data is not legally protected communication. For example, police used archived non-anonymous oral history data to connect members of the Irish Republican Army with bombings and other crimes. In order to decrease the risk of prosecution or harrassment to interview participants and others, we took three precautions:

  • Interview participants could choose to be named, but we encouraged anonymous participation if they were concerned about personal security.
  • We reminded participants to not share potentially incriminating information with us, and to lie if necessary. We did not transcribe or archive anything we considered potentially incriminating.
  • If we learn that interview data may have been accessed by police or anyone else, we will notify all interview participants immediately.

PROJECTED BENEFITS

  • This research will benefit activist communities by improving our understanding of street medic practices at militarized protests.
  • There is no financial compensation to participants in this study.
  • Personal benefits to interview participants include the opportunity to share stories, reflect on their experiences, and listen to the stories of others.
  • Benefits to participants and the general public include open access to archived transcripts and papers written by the researchers.

CONTACT

Interviewers

Feel free to contact us at any time for any reason related to this project.

  • Anna Grace Keller (principal investigator), independent scholar (member of Katuah Medics). Phone: (504) 710-1604. Email: moc.liamy|rellekrecarg#moc.liamy|rellekrecarg.
  • Rixey Browning, independent scholar, independent street medic. Phone: (301) 639-0514. Email: ten.puesir|llaroferac#ten.puesir|llaroferac.

VERSION

This is version 2 of this procedure (27 March 2015).

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