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From rite of passage to a mentored educational activity: Fieldwork for master’s students of anthropology

Helle Bundgaard and Cecilie Rubow

Keywords: collaborative fieldwork; cooperative reflection; ethnographic fieldwork; master’s fieldwork; university reforms

Abstract

This article discusses the teaching of anthropological fieldwork during a period of comprehensive educational reforms in Danish universities. We trace widely held conceptions of fieldwork among master’s students of anthropology and the efforts they make to live up to what they assume to be classic fieldwork. We argue that the ideals of classic fieldwork too often fail to support the learning process when fieldwork is squeezed into the timeframe of the curriculum and show how fieldwork as part of an educational programme can be mentored by online feedback. Our suggestion is that cooperative reflection during fieldwork can improve the quality of the empirical material and the analytical process significantly.

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