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

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-06-01
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr
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Author Biography

James D. Faubion is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and the author of books including The Shadows and Lights of Waco. George E. Marcus is Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine; coauthor with Fernando Mascarenhas of Ocasiao: The Marquis and the Anthropologist, a Collaboration; and the author of books including Ethnography through Thick and Thin.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Renewable Ethnographyp. vii
Introduction: Notes toward an Ethnographic Memoir of Supervising Graduate Research through Anthropology's Decades of Transformationp. 1
Appendix: A Note on the Literature Relating to Fieldwork and Ethnographyp. 32
Reflections On First Fieldwork and After
Phantom Epistemologiesp. 37
Ethnographic Remnants: Range and Limits of the Social Methodp. 52
On the Ethics of Unusable Datap. 73
Caught! The Predicaments of Ethnography in Collaborationp. 89
The Dracula Ballet: A Tale of Fieldwork in Politicsp. 113
The "Work" of Ethnographic Fieldworkp. 129
On The Ethics of Being an Anthropologist (Now)
The Ethics of Fieldwork as an Ethics of Connectivity, or The Good Anthropologist (Isn't What She Used to Be)p. 145
Teaching Fieldwork that is Not What It Used to Be
Figuring Out Ethnographyp. 167
Questioning a Textp. 173
Collaboration, Coordination, and Composition: Fieldwork after the Internetp. 184
Bibliographyp. 207
Contributorsp. 221
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


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.

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