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Reflections on Fieldwork in Yemen

The Genealogy of a Diary in Response to Rabinow's Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco

Daniel Martin Varisco

In preparation for writing an ethnographic monograph on fieldwork in Yemen, I compare and contrast my field diary, written in 1978–9, with Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco (1977). The underlying question is what post-fieldwork reflections reflect meaningfully about the immediacy of ethnographic fieldwork? I criticise the reflexivist trope of privileging ‘writing culture’ over the significance of ‘being there’ in the field. Point by point, I examine the implications of graduate training in anthropology, culture shock, health problems, language skills, the unreflective male voice, visual ethnography and the rhetoric of narrative writing.

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George E. Marcus

Classic conditions of fieldwork research, to which anthropology remains committed, are difficult to establish today within far-reaching projects of neoliberal economy, governance and philanthropy. The forms of collaboration on which these projects insist, and those that ethnography encourages for its own research purposes, must be reconciled. On the bargains or adjustments that anthropology makes with neoliberal projects, within which it establishes scenes of fieldwork, depends its capacity to produce critique - its primary agenda since the 1980s. These issues are what are at stake in the widespread current discussions of, and hopes for, an 'engaged' anthropology.

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Picturesque Savagery on Display

Exhibition of Indigenous People, Science and Commerce in Argentina (1898–1904)

Diego Ballestero

structural advantages offered by urban spaces when conducting fieldwork. He was born in Posen in 1872. Between 1890 and 1896 he studied at the universities of Freiburg, Berlin and Munich. At Munich, he obtained his doctorates in philosophy (1894) and medicine

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Methods Applied

Political Transformation and Recent Ethnographic Fieldwork in Iran

Mary Elaine Hegland and Erika Friedl

In the 1970s social cultural anthropology in Iran was beginning to flourish. However, with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the subsequent Islamic Republic of Iran, fieldwork in Iran became extremely problematic. Foreign anthropologists faced formidable obstacles to obtaining visas and permits. Anthropologists working inside Iran were also discouraged from anthropological participant observation. As a result, during the post revolutionary period, few anthropologists have been conducting fieldwork in Iran. Recently, some hopeful signs for a possible reestablishment of anthropology can be noted, among them the return of young Iranian anthropologists, from countries where they have grown up and gained an education, to their homeland for dissertation research. This article discusses the influences on fieldwork of politics—international, national and local—and projects, problems and strategies of some anthropologists who have conducted recent ethnographic fieldwork in Iran.

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Research Methodology in Kurdish Studies

Interactions between Fieldwork, Epistemology and Theory

Mehmet Orhan

domination and legitimation in societies, likely resulting from the separate discussion of theory and observation (see Shil's foreword to Weber 1949 ). This problem has certainly lessened due to the development of methodological and fieldwork techniques

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From Khariji to Kabuli

Being an 'Insider/Outsider' in an Afghan Woman's Fieldwork

Shaharzad Akbar

This article reflects on the challenges of being an 'outsider' in one's own culture and on the journey from being a complete outsider to an 'insider/outsider'. Reflecting on fieldwork among women in north-east Afghanistan, the article explores assumptions and perceptions about Badakhshan and its people and the role of fieldwork in shattering them. It is also a reflection about values and compromises and the researcher's struggle to negotiate the appropriate balance. The article sheds light on the researcher's search for and discovery of different versions of herself when faced with a different version of 'home'.

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Methodology Matters in Iran

Researching Social Movements in Authoritarian Contexts

Paola Rivetti

This article examines how conducting fieldwork with qualitative research methods that question the binary distinction between the ‘researcher’ and the ‘object of the research’ generates findings that may ultimately innovate the study of social

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Follow the Afghan War

Methods, Interpretations, Imagination

Irene Kucera

Anthropological research in war-torn countries like Afghanistan is dangerous and therefore often impossible. There are various constraints, both general and specific, that often hinder an anthropologist from going out into the field. This is not a new problem for social anthropology, but it is increasingly preoccupying the discipline. Thus, a 'distance approach' needs to be developed for studying the ethnography of the Afghan war. This article proposes one methodological possibility for approaching the Afghan war from other perspectives. This method involves extensive reading in and analysis of various written works and the critical examination of web sites and other media, in combination with fieldwork in Europe and Central Asia. In order to demonstrate this approach, the discourse on women's rights will be discussed.

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Francisco Martinez

Is fieldwork as anthropologists do it simply a method among others? This article disagrees, drawing on the concept of “serendipity” as introduced by German scholar Ina-Maria Greverus. Beyond the prescribed way of any method, anthropology’s specificity articulates as “discovery”, in this case: an unexpected discovery of remains of the Soviet past in Estonia, through the author’s family life.

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Soheila Shahshahani

This article refers to the methodology of this eld as a viable way of being in a very complex (personal, institutional, research) situation of existence at different levels over a long period of time. The author uses ‘distancing’, putting in abeyance her personal reactions in order to comprehend and make evident what would otherwise have been difficult to go through. So participant observation not only deeply familiarises the researcher with a situation and culture, it also provides a standpoint of not personally getting involved in order to continue research.