The Seoul of Cats & Dogs
"In 2011, I received an offer and funding to study the production and consumption of travel images of North Korean (NK) destinations by South Korean (SK) travel agencies as part of a DPhil in Anthropology at Oxford. Overwhelming odds prevented me from doing so. After the bombing of Yeonpyeong in November 2011, no one was allowed to enter the North Korean territory from South Korea. Moreover, in order to go to NK via China, I had to receive a visa, which would only be given to me if I had a more-than-6-month residential status on the SK territory. Unfortunately, research visas are only given by chunks of 6 months in SK. I was stuck.
I had planned a plan B (which was originally my plan A). I wanted to look at cat and dog meat consumption and the developments of animal welfare in SK. Because I was officially researching something else at the time I started volunteering at animal welfare organisations and visiting meat markets, people did not feel threatened by my presence. As a result, by the time I switched topics, I had already developed a great network and built the necessary trust to conduct a good research. Because of the trust my participants placed in me, the data I produced was both valuable and unprecedented. There is no doubt in my mind that my walking into a full-time permanent position at the University of Exeter (Lectureship in Anthropology) upon completion of my doctoral degree is partially due to the success of my research and to my flexibility in the field."
Julien Dugnoille, Lecturer in Anthropology (University of Exeter)