This article discusses structural, logistical, and administrative issues associated with the use of participant observation assignments in teaching the anthropology of religion. Fieldwork presents extraordinary opportunities for teaching students about the nature of cultural difference, but it also poses pedagogical challenges that require careful planning and supervision. The article reviews problems including the scope and nature of the observation, student preparation and guidance, connecting with fieldsites, presentation formats, issues of ethics and confidentiality, and university administrative considerations.
A Practical Guide
Jeffrey A. Sluka
The ethnography of state terror is “high risk” research and there are real personal dangers for anyone who conducts fieldwork on this issue. Managing such dangers has particularly become an issue for those conducting primary research with perpetrators of state terror—the “rank and file” who apply the electric cattle prods and pull the triggers—and all of the researchers I know who have taken this path have been threatened in one form or another. Th is article reviews the core literature and latest developments in managing the physical dangers inherent in the ethnography of political violence and state terror, particularly fieldwork or primary research with the actual perpetrators themselves, makes practical recommendations for managing such dangers, and presents some ideas for developing risk management plans or protocols for researcher survival in perilous field sites.
Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond
Euro-American scholarship more generally. I wish to extend this focus by exploring the fascination that fieldwork-based researchers and their interlocutors have with each other and with studying religion. As I show, this fascination may lead
foundational, if contestable, concepts (e.g., culture, humanity) and its constitutive practice of ethnographic fieldwork. As a result, theology does not end with anthropology; rather, it becomes reconstituted within the latter’s secular syntax. Anthropology
Finding Perpetrators and Switchboard Operators in Post-Authoritarian Argentina
Antonius C.G.M. Robben
In conducting fieldwork among perpetrators of state violence, it is a major methodological problem to gain access to competing factions within the research population. Ethnographers often succeed in finding access to at least one faction but this successful rapport might then immediately close off other factions that mistrust the ethnographer’s politics, intentions, or alleged sympathies. The ethnographic challenge is to find intermediaries or switchboard operators, as they are called in this article, who have established informal channels of communication between hostile factions. Switchboard operators have the following characteristics: discretion, neutrality, lack of formal power, disinterestedness, trustworthiness, and they act as a conduit of communication. This article describes how switchboard operators were located in Argentina, and how they played a crucial role in my fieldwork among a broad spectrum of military perpetrators who had terrorized the Argentine people between 1976 and 1983 with enforced disappearances and state repression.
Ethnographies of Private Security
Erella Grassiani and Tessa Diphoorn
sovereignty, citizenship, belonging, and exclusion. In this section, we extend this focus by highlighting the innovative insights and advantages of this growing anthropological scope. For decades, the method of ethnographic fieldwork defined the discipline of
Contentious Activism Facing Megaprojects, Authoritarianism, and Violence
-hop circle Pac'Stão, which alludes to PAC and a violent territory). I conducted the main fieldwork that underlies this article in 2011 and 2012 (see Braathen et al. 2013 ). While I am a male, white, and foreign political scientist, I was assisted in the
outrage as expressed by Alek during his trial. By revisiting ethnographic data from previous fieldwork among Turkish immigrant families in a Norwegian suburb, I will explore why morally outrageous situations sometimes trigger individuals to act. In seeing
Policing Partnerships in Nairobi, Kenya
Francesco Colona and Tessa Diphoorn
2003 ; Skilling 2016 ; Smith 2015 ; van Stapele 2015 ) have also identified this role taken up by central role of non-state security providers. Based on such studies, we started our fieldwork in Nairobi, Kenya, by primarily focusing on non
Shifting Constellations and Permeable Boundaries in “Private” Security Contracting
Maya Mynster Christensen
article builds on 19 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Sierra Leone between 2006 and 2012. By following the same people over time as they move between shifting constellations of shadow soldiering, I have come to discover the significance of