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The Ethnographic Self as Resource: Writing Memory and Experience into Ethnography

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The Ethnographic Self as Resource

Writing Memory and Experience into Ethnography

Edited by Peter Collins and Anselma Gallinat

270 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-656-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2010)

ISBN  978-1-78238-061-0 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (January 2013)

eISBN 978-1-84545-828-7 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This book is recommended as useful for anyone writing ethnography in that it acknowledges the difficulties of engaging in anthropology, but also its challenges and rewards compared to other disciplines.” • Anthropological Notebooks

“…an excellent collection of anthropological autobiographical essays focusing on the positionality and resource of the self in ethnography… The essays are engaging and well written… [and] remind me of some of those classic anthropological / ethnographic collections – interesting in their own right to read, but also serving as a good teaching resource.” • Amanda Coffey, Cardiff University


It is commonly acknowledged that anthropologists use personal experiences to inform their writing. However, it is often assumed that only fieldwork experiences are relevant and that the personal appears only in the form of self-reflexivity. This book takes a step beyond anthropology at home and auto-ethnography and shows how anthropologists can include their memories and experiences as ethnographic data in their writing. It discusses issues such as authenticity, translation and ethics in relation to the self, and offers a new perspective on doing ethnographic fieldwork.

Peter Collins received his PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester in 1994 and is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University. He was previously a Lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Manchester. He is the author of numerous articles, and his primary research interests are religion, space and place, narrative theory and qualitative methods.

Anselma Gallinat received a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Durham in 2002 and has worked as a Research Assistant and Associate on applied projects. She is currently a Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University (UK). She has worked on questions of sociocultural change, narrative, identity, and most recently memory and morality in eastern Germany.

Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology


Peter Collins and Anselma Gallinat

Chapter 1. The Ethnographic Self as Resource: an Introduction
Peter Collins and Anselma Gallinat


Chapter 2. Playing the Native Card: the Anthropologist as Informant in Eastern Germany
Anselma Gallinat

Chapter 3. Foregroundingthe Self in Fieldwork among Rural Women in Croatia
Lynette Sikic-Micanovic

Chapter 4. Some Reflections on the ‘Enchantments’ of Village Life, or Whose Story is This?
Anne Kathrine Larsen

Chapter 5. The Ethics of Participant Observation: Personal Reflections on Fieldwork in England
Nigel Rapport


Chapter 6. Ethnographers as Language Learners: From Oblivion and Towards an Echo
Alison Phipps

Chapter 7. Leading Questions and Body Memories: a Case of Phenomenology and Physical Ethnography in the Dance Interview
Jonathan Skinner

Chapter 8. Dualling Memories: Twinship and the Disembodiment of Identity
Dona Lee Davis and Dorothy I. Davis

Chapter 9. Remembering and the Ethnography of Children’s Sports
Noel Dyck

Chapter 10. Gardening in Time: Happiness and Memory in American Horticulture
Jane Nadel-Klein


Chapter 11. The Role of Serendipity and Memory in Experiencing Fields
Tamara Kohn

Chapter 12. Serendipities, Uncertainties and Improvisations in Movement and Migration
Vered Amit

Chapter 13. On Remembering and Forgetting in Writing and Fieldwork
Simon Coleman

Chapter 14. The Ethnographic Self as Resource?
Peter Collins

Chapter 15. Epilogue: What a Story we Anthropolgists Have to Tell!
James W. Fernandez

Notes on Contributors

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