Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be: Learning Anthropology's Method in a Time of Transition

Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be: Learning Anthropology's Method in a Time of Transition

by James D. Faubion
     
 

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Over the past two decades anthropologists have been challenged to rethink the nature of ethnographic research, the meaning of fieldwork, and the role of ethnographers. Ethnographic fieldwork has cultural, social, and political ramifications that have been much discussed and acted upon, but the training of ethnographers still follows a very traditional pattern; this

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Overview

Over the past two decades anthropologists have been challenged to rethink the nature of ethnographic research, the meaning of fieldwork, and the role of ethnographers. Ethnographic fieldwork has cultural, social, and political ramifications that have been much discussed and acted upon, but the training of ethnographers still follows a very traditional pattern; this volume engages and takes its point of departure in the experiences of ethnographers-in-the-making that encourage alternative models for professional training in fieldwork and its intellectual contexts.

The work done by contributors to Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be articulates, at the strategic point of career-making research, features of this transformation in progress. Setting aside traditional anxieties about ethnographic authority, the authors revisit fieldwork with fresh initiative. In search of better understandings of the contemporary research process itself, they assess the current terms of the engagement of fieldworkers with their subjects, address the constructive, open-ended forms by which the conclusions of fieldwork might take shape, and offer an accurate and useful description of what it means to become-and to be-an anthropologist today.

Contributors: Lisa Breglia, George Mason University; Jae A. Chung, Aalen University; James D. Faubion, Rice University; Michael M. J. Fischer, MIT; Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Jennifer A. Hamilton, Hampshire College; Christopher M. Kelty, UCLA; George E. Marcus, University of California, Irvine; Nahal Naficy, Rice University; Kristin Peterson, University of California, Irvine; Deepa S. Reddy, University of Houston-Clear Lake

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an extended, provocative reflection on the nature of anthropological fieldwork under the crowded, mobile, cyber-speed, science-dominated, neoliberal conditions of twenty-first-century modernity. At once pedagogical and epistemological, it reconfigures new researchers' bafflement before the weighty traditions of the Malinowskian hermeneutic as, instead, a creative adaptation. These authors present something vitally new while managing to remain respectful of approaches to field research that must now be radically reordered or recontextualized. Representing the liveliness and fecundity of 'Rice anthropology' during at least the past two decades, they venture beyond necessary but by now almost hackneyed forms of critique to show what kinds of originality the new contexts of research may now be expected to demand."—Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University, author of Evicted from Eternity: The Restructuring of Modern Rome

"Fieldwork is Not What It Used to Be is an indispensable text for students, teachers, and for ethnographers of all stripes. Passionate, personal, and yet highly sophisticated , the volume shares with the wider intellectual community the methodological and theoretical orientation that has long defined the 'Rice School' of the ethnography of the contemporary. For many years the editors and contributors have been at the forefront of reimagining the methods and promise of ethnographic research in a postsocial world. Here they share their insights with characteristic candor. The result is a surprisingly synthetic view of the way forward."—Annelise Riles, Cornell University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801463587
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
04/30/2009
Series:
Cornell paperbacks
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
File size:
1 MB

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