Fieldwork necessarily causes some degree of psychological stress for an ethnographer, although the nature and consequences of such stress vary individually. Rather than lament or conceal that fact, I suggest that an ethnographer’s idiosyncratic responses can provide particular insights. To illustrate the point, I consider what might have induced me, and perhaps others, to take on the necessarily disorienting role of an ethnographer. I then contrast my experience (as a middle-aged Western anthropologist) of a meditation retreat in Burma with my experience (as a recently divorced bisexual man) of a naked men’s yoga retreat in Texas. These brief vignettes are intended to suggest that my specific personal conflicts alert me to matters of more general anthropological interest.
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