Ethnographers have constructed contradicting assertions, and indeed assumptions,
about the nature of learning, how it is best accomplished, and
how students internalise this learning in order to form both individualised
and collective identities. Are the rites of passage, so often described in analyses
of postgraduate socialisation – the oral examinations, the viva voce, the
departmental seminar, or graduation ceremony – the only routes available
for understanding how anthropological culture is inculcated into students?
Is the role of the supervisor as mentor pivotal in the successful completion
of a Ph.D? Or is this more of a master/apprentice relationship? Does this
proc ess maintain its relevance in a globalised field and with instant virtual
access to experts from other institutions anywhere in the world? Such issues
have been of interest to both students and faculty within the anthropology
discipline, in particular, and the social sciences more generally.