Reflecting the “Field”

Two Vepsian Villages and three Researchers

in Sibirica
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  • 1 University of Aberdeen laura.siragusa@abdn.ac.uk
  • 2 University of Tartu madis.arukask@ut.ee
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Abstract

For social researchers a field site is continuously made by the interactions between the researchers and the ecology, including ideologies, present at the time when research is conducted. Such interactions and their interpretations change over time due to the dynamism of life in the field and the emergence of new methods and academic discussions. In order to do this, we have taken two Vepsian villages and three researchers of different background—including ourselves—and compared our working ways. This has enabled us to appreciate the strengths as well as the weaknesses of our own practices and to recognize the value of self-irony as a method of exploration and discovery. The dialogic approach of the article matches our theoretical scope as we have developed an understanding of field as a space where an honest and open discussion is possible.

Contributor Notes

Laura Siragusa is a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen. Her current research is sponsored by the ERC-funded Arctic Domus project led by Professor David Anderson within which she problematizes the linguistic nature of communicative activities with regard to human-animal relationships. She is also interested in the power of language and has been working on healing practices through verbal art with a particular focus on Vepsian enchantments. E-mail: laura.siragusa@abdn.ac.uk.

Madis Arukask is associate professor and senior researcher of folkloristics at the University of Tartu. His current research is on different aspects of folk belief of Finnic peoples in the Northwest Russia, focusing mostly on herding magic and communication practices between the living and the dead. He has studied also Kalevala-metric poetry of Finnic peoples and is author of nearly fifty research articles and four documentary films. E-mail: madis.arukask@ut.ee.

Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

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