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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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The Incitement to Fieldwork

Ward Keeler

likely to want to learn about. Suppressing information about how the fieldwork encounter actually took place, this well-known critique asserts, dissembles the power imbalance between the anthropologist and his or her objects of study (cf. Clifford and

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Fieldwork Assignments in the Anthropology of Religion

A Practical Guide

Andrew Buckser

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.

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Classic Fieldwork, Critique and Engaged Anthropology

Into the New Century

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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What can we learn from a ‘liar’ and a ‘madman’? Serendipity and double commitment during fieldwork

Stefan Le Courant

In order to do my PhD fieldwork among undocumented migrants in a detention centre, I had to become a volunteer for an NGO providing legal assistance. In this paper I examine the effect of this double commitment through the study of two figures: a ‘liar’ and a ‘madman’. I question the grounds upon which field anthropological practice is based, namely, the ideas of long‐term fieldwork and serendipity. I hypothesise that anthropological knowledge is constructed in the successive oscillations between various positions and points of view on the field and not in the quest for the right distance from the subject under scrutiny.

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Managing Danger in Fieldwork with Perpetrators of Political Violence and State Terror

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.

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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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Feelings in the Field

The Emotional Labour of the Ethnographer

Maria Concetta Lo Bosco

Ethnographic fieldwork has defined anthropology both as a discipline and practice ( Gupta and Ferguson 1997 ). It is broadly conceived as that unique and irreplaceable rite of passage which will ultimately turn an apprentice anthropologist in a

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Plans, Changes, Improvisations

Navigating Research on the Fertility Quests of Mozambican Women and Men

Inês Faria

In this article, I look at the pragmatics of the fieldwork process with a focus on my own personal experience. Rather than an analytical piece, as I have developed elsewhere ( Faria 2018 ), I opt here for a more descriptive and informal tone. I

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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