Anthropological Fieldwork: A Relational Process

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9781443817547: Anthropological Fieldwork: A Relational Process
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Anthropologists are affected by and affect others through emotional engagement; they 'manage' emotions or allow them to unfold as vehicles of understanding. The contributors to this volume argue that participant observation is an embodied relational process mediated by emotions. If fieldwork is to attain its fullest potential, emotional reflexivity must complement the wider reflexive task of anthropologists. This makes particular demands on the training of anthropologists, and the contributors to this volume propose new ways of practising emotional reflexivity (such as radical empiricism) that enhance anthropological knowledge. Emotions in anthropology are explored from a variety of methodological and theoretical standpoints, drawing on fieldwork in Nepal, the UK, Taiwan, Russia, India and the Philippines.

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It is still far from clear how fieldwork experience makes knowledge ... The proposition of this important new volume is that serious attention must be paid to the way in which ethnographic facts travel from field to page via an internal terrain: the complex fabric of individual subjectivity, and the imagination of social relations. Fieldwork, more than a participant observation, is a relational reflection. It is an emotional labour, dealing in the dynamics of internalised past and present relations. Thanks to the contributors to this volume, a real openness is visited upon the anthropological endeavour: 'the field' and 'knowledge' become perceptual, cognitive and emotional trajectories. --Professor Nigel Rapport, University of St. Andrews; Author of The Prose and the Passion: Anthropology, Literature and the Writing of E. M. Forster

This fine volume succeeds in being both deeply engaging and theoretically sophisticated. It provides insights into the emotional investments that go into all stages of producing ethnography writing as well as fieldwork. Individual case-studies are framed by appreciation of anthropology's past as well as suggestions as to where the discipline might go in the future. The book is a vital addition to the literature on how anthropologists construct and are constructed by their fields --Professor Simon Coleman, University of Sussex; Editor of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

About the Author:

Dr Dimitrina Spencer obtained her doctorate in Social Anthropology from Oxford University. She researches learning, science and technology at the Department of Education, University of Oxford, and works as a relational psychotherapist in training for the Oxfordshire County Council. She is a co-editor of Emotions in the Field: The Psychology and Anthropology of Fieldwork Experience (Stanford 2010). Dr James Davies obtained his doctorate in Social Anthropology from Oxford University. He is a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Psychotherapy at Roehampton University. He is also a qualified psychotherapist (UKCP) and has worked widely in the National Health Service and other clinical settings. He is author of The Making of Psychotherapists: An Anthropological Analysis, and is co-editor of Emotions in the Field: The Psychology and Anthropology of Fieldwork Experience. His next book on the anthropology of suffering is due to appear next year.

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