In this piece I offer an overview of the theme section and reflect on the relationship between academic studies and social justice. By comparing anthropology with my home discipline of criminology, I point to some shared and distinct contributions practitioners in these fields can make to our understanding about border control. Without being too pessimistic, I warn about the limits of ‘humanizing’ research subjects as a means to bring about progressive change, and suggest instead, drawing on the work of the theme section, that more needs to be done alongside and with individuals and local communities.
Methodologies and Practicalities
In this article I examine the potential of the Femorabilia Collection of Women’s and Girls’ Twentieth Century Periodicals for the study of girlhood in Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations and I explain why the collection was originally created and describe its current purpose and policy to promote future research. I consider the importance of material and reading cultures as well as approaches to understanding the content of these varied publications and discuss the difficulties of working with mass culture, ephemeral texts, and the problem of obtaining examples, and I consider the collection’s particular focus on popular fiction. I consider the development of the collection, examples of methodology and practice, and its use in pedagogy, research, and public engagement.
Field Notes as First Responder Witness Accounts
I position critical ethnographic researcher field notes as an opportunity to document the physical and ideological violence that white settler states and institutions on the school-prison nexus inflict on the lives of girls of color generally and Black girls specifically. By drawing on my own field notes, I argue that critical social science researchers have an ethical duty to move their inquiries beyond conventions of settler colonial empirical science when they are wanting to create knowledges that transcend traditions of body counts and classification systems of human lives. As first responders to the social emergencies in girls’ lives, researchers can make palpable spatialization of institutionalized forms of settler epistemologies to convey more girl-centered ways of speaking against quantifiable hierarchies of human life.
Research Methods for the Study of Religion
Religion and Gender
Non-religion and Secularity Research Network Web Site Revamped
American Academy of Religion Martin E. Marty Award
Andrew Irving, Christine McCourt, Kirk Simpson, Jeffrey Lambe and Roberta McDonnell
Guide to Imagework: Imagination-based Research Methods (ASA Research Methods in Social Anthropology Series). By Iain R. Edgar. London and New York: Routledge, 2004, paperback, xii + 161 pages, £18.99. ISBN: 0 415 23538 3.
Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India. By C. Van Hollen. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, 310 pages, £14.95. ISBN 0-520-22359-4.
Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide. By Alexander Laban Hinton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, paperback, 382 pages, £12.95. ISBN: 0-520-24179-7.
Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary. By Veena Das. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, paperback, 296 pages, £12.95. ISBN: 978-0-520-24745-1.
Anthropology Beyond Culture. By R. G. Fox and B. J. King (eds), Oxford and New York: Berg (Wenner-Gren International Symposium Series), 2002, 306 pp. incl. refs, £17.99. ISBN: 1 8593 524X / 1 85973 529 0.
Contemporary undergraduate courses in research methods are challenging to teach because of the wide scope of the subject matter, limited student contact hours and the complexity of supervising research projects undertaken by novices. Focus group assignments within class offer an interesting and enjoyable way for students to develop and apply research skills and reflect on the process of being both a researcher and a research participant in social science disciplines. Using focus groups enables deep learning, formative assessment and the development of reflexive research skills. This article discusses the use of focus group assignments as a key assessment tool in a Sociological research methods course taught at Monash University, Australia. The use of focus groups as a teaching tool is further assessed through analysing the reflections and evaluations given by students participating in the course.
An Experiment in the Use of the Guest Interview, Focus Group Interviews and Learning Journals in the Teaching and Learning of the Anthropology of Modern Dance
Jonathan Skinner and Kirk Simpson
This article assesses the experimental teaching and learning of an anthropology module on 'modern dance'. It reviews the teaching and learning of the modern dances (lecture, observation, embodied practice, guest interview), paying attention to the triangulation of investigation methods (learning journal, examination, self-esteem survey, focus group interview). Our findings suggest that—in keeping with contemporary participatory educational approaches—students prefer guest interviews and 'performances of understanding' for teaching and learning, and that focus groups and learning journals were the preferred research methods for illuminating the students' teaching and learning experience.
Methods and Myths in Disciplinary History
In this article, I demonstrate how Max Gluckman used his forceful and charismatic leadership to build the reputation of the Manchester School through collective research and writing practices. He created a distinctly anthropological genealogy for the case-study method that elided its earlier development within American sociology. He also championed a balanced use of ethnographic and quantitative research methods and a team-based approach to carrying out social research. While the case-study method has received much attention, both of these latter aspects of the work carried out within the Manchester Department are a neglected part of its intellectual legacy.
This issue of Projections features an impressive diversity of research questions and research methods. In our first article, Timothy Justus investigates the question of how film music represents meaning from three distinct methodological perspectives—music theory, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. Following a model of naturalized aesthetics proposed by Murray Smith in Film, Art, and the Third Culture (see the book symposium in Projections 12.2), Justus argues for the importance of “triangulating” the methods and approaches of each field—more generally, of the humanities, the behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences. Our second article, by Gal Raz, Giancarlo Valente, Michele Svanera, Sergio Benini, and András Bálint Kovács, also explores the effects fostered by a specific formal device of cinema—in this case, shot-scale. And again, distinct research methods are put to complementary use. Raz and colleagues’ starting point is a desire to empirically test a hypothesis advanced by art historians Alois Riegl and Heinrich Wölfflin. To do this, they apply a machine-learning model to neurological data supplied by a set of fMRI scans. Methodology is the explicit topic of our third article, by Jose Cañas-Bajo, Teresa Cañas-Bajo, Juri-Petri Valtanen, and Pertti Saariluoma, who outline a new mixed (qualitative and quantitative) method approach to the study of how feature films elicit viewer interest.
Methodological Reflections on Participatory and Ethnographic Research
The concept of participation is currently evoked by constituencies as varied as urban planners, local governments, universities and social movements. This coincides with a revival of participatory research methods in the social and cultural sciences. This article argues that the critical potential of participatory research methods should not be taken for granted in cognitive capitalism, where participation is as much an instrument for governmental regulation from above as it is a practice for democratic self-determination from below. First, the politics of participation from the emancipatory departures of the 1970s to today's revival are being discussed. Second, based on a long-term ethnographic study on the transnational Euromayday movement of the precarious, it is demonstrated how positioning the researcher using reflexive ethnography can support a critical research attitude through a process of reflexive hybridisation. In concluding, reflexive activist scholarship is outlined as a critical research attitude which encourages participatory knowledge production in a way that responds both to the field of activism and the field of academia.