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Being There While Not Being There

Reflections on Multi-sited Ethnography and Field Access in the Context of Forced Migration

Laura K. McAdam-Otto and Sarah Nimführ

Introduction: An Anecdote on Multi-Sited Ethnography ‘Finally, now you have also advanced to a stage where you have conducted multi-sited research’. This comment, directed at Sarah Nimführ at a research colloquium at which she presented

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Desperate Aspirations among Paraguayan Youths

The Renegotiation of Migration and Rural Futures

Corinna Land

on, underlying norms and their contestations. The data presented here was gathered during multi-sited ethnographic field research in El Triunfo and Buenos Aires. In 2018 and 2019, I participated in the everyday life of translocal family networks and

Free access

George E. Marcus

This article engages the current challenges that the ecology of designing and implementing ethnographic research today presents to the still powerful culture of method in anthropology, especially as it is manifested in the production of apprentice graduate dissertation research by anthropologists in the making. The Anthropology of Public Policy defines a recent and emerging terrain of anthropological research that challenges the culture of fieldwork/ethnographic method at the core of anthropology's practice and identity. Thus, what might emerge, in the author's view, is not a new or adjusted handbook of method, but a more far-reaching discussion of how the very function of ethnographic research shifts in response to this challenge in terms of collaboration and pedagogy.

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Michael G. Powell

By considering multiple perspectives on the problem of networking and networks in public policy circles, as well as the wider professional world, this article aims to both draw out and blur boundaries and definitions among multiple levels of networking as an analytic concept, a fieldwork method and a practice observed among policymakers. In making this distinction and explaining it in relation to theorisations of fieldwork rapport and 'complicity,' the article attempts to show that the distance and collegiality that defines professional networking is a viable and potentially quite insightful mode, means and method for conducting fieldwork, particularly for multisited anthropology of public policy projects. To that end, this article offers both conceptual ideas, as well as practical advice for conceiving and conducting fieldwork for an anthropology of public policy project.

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Introduction

Time and the Field

Steffen Dalsgaard and Morten Nielsen

Prompted by the postmodern turn in anthropology, ethnographic fieldwork has been subjected to considerable analytical scrutiny. Yet despite numerous conceptual facelifts, definitions and demarcations of 'the field' have remained fundamentally anchored in tropes of spatiality with the association between field and fieldworker characterized as being maintained by distances in space. By exploring and unfolding the temporal properties of the field, anthropology can favorably complement and extend the (spatially anchored) notion of multi-sited fieldwork with one of multi-temporal ethnography. This approach implies not only a particular attention to the methodology of studying local (social and ontological) imaginaries of time; it furthermore unpacks the (multi-)temporality of the relationship between fieldworker and the field. This special issue may thus be taken as a fresh invitation to a temporally oriented ethnography.

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How “Poland Entered Europe”

The Motorway as a Space of Neoliberalism

Waldemar Kuligowski

The article surveys a giant infrastructural construction project in Poland: the A2 motorway, connecting Poznan´ and Warsaw with the Polish-German border. It was the first private motorway in Poland, and the biggest European infrastructural project, and was realized in a public-private partnership system. The last section of A2 was opened on 1 December 2011, which can be seen as a key moment in Polish socioeconomic transformation. I examine it on two levels: (1) a discourse between government and private investors in which the motorway was the medium of economic and social development and infrastructural “the end” modernization of Poland; (2) practices and opinions of local communities, living along the new motorway. On the first level, the construction of A2 was seen as an impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was built. But on the second level, I observe almost universal disappointment and a deep crisis experienced by local economies.

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An Ethnography of Change in Northeastern Siberia

Whither an Interdisciplinary Role?

Susan A. Crate

Using longitudinal ethnographic material, anthropologists are skilled to discern how change, in its many forms, interacts with the livelihoods of affected communities. Furthermore, multi-sited ethnography can show how local change is both a result of global to local phenomena and of origins affecting similar local contexts. Ethnographic material is therefore critical to interdisciplinary understandings of change. Through case study in native villages in north-eastern Siberia, Russia, this article argues for ethnography's unique capacity to understand change. In addition, it argues for ethnography's much-needed contribution in interdisciplinary efforts to account for attributes of global change both highly local and human.

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'Why Do They Talk about Spirits?'

Anthropological Interventions in Classroom Settings with Latin@ Immigrant Students

Alicia Re Cruz

This article describes the author's experiences as a professor in a Bilingual Education Programme at a local university; students are public school teachers in North Texas, teaching in classrooms ranging from 80 to 95 per cent Latin@ students. The author uses multi-sited ethnography and history in order to set the scenario for the political, ideological and economic factors embedded in the understanding of the Latin@ immigrant community presence in the area. The article documents anthropological 'intervention' strategies through papers and research projects. Students (public school teachers) are required to exercise participatory approaches to engage their own Latin@ students in their research papers. Through analysis of the transformative research projects presented by the students, the author documents the power of anthropological intervention and the effects in education policy.

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Questions from the Field

Anthropological Self-reflexivity through the Eyes of Study Participants

Sangmi Lee

Although there is nothing new about how anthropologists can be the observed instead of simply being the observer and that they can also be interviewed while interviewing, no one has studied the kinds of questions they receive from the people that they study and interact with in the field. Questions that research participants ask the anthropologists during fieldwork provide a critical way to reflect upon historical and persistent issues related to field-work, such as positionality, self-reflexivity and methodology. Based on fourteen months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork among two Hmong communities in Laos and the United States, this article examines some of the questions I received from the people in my study and suggests that anthropologists need to pay more critical attention to these questions as a source of self-reflexivity and positionality in the process of ethnographic writing.

Open access

The absent presence of the deportation apparatus

Methodological challenges in the production of knowledge on immigration detention

Jukka Könönen

Due to the difficulties in accessing detention facilities, the discussion on immigration detention often draws on limited empirical data with varying degrees of attention paid to the heterogeneity of the detained population and their different stakes in an impending removal. Although a closed institution, various legal and administrative processes related to the enforcement of immigration decisions render immigration detention a relational field. Drawing on my fieldwork experiences while conducting multi‐sited ethnographic research on the immigration detention system in Finland, I discuss how methodological choices, theoretical presuppositions and circumstantial factors affect the production of knowledge on immigration detention. I address the relevance of: 1) the case selection among detainees with considerably varying immigration histories, social situations and detention times; 2) a multi‐sited research setting to conceive the various processes of immigration enforcement during detention; 3) an engaged research strategy to access detainees’ first‐hand knowledge of their immigration cases beyond dramatic representations; and 4) the employment of administrative data in contextualising empirical findings. I argue for the importance of examining detainees’ negotiations with the deportation apparatus, which shapes available options for detainees as well as determines the outcome of detention from the ‘outside’, despite its absence in everyday life in detention.