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Methodology & History in Anthropology
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Anthropologists in a Wider World
Essays on Field Research
Edited by Paul Dresch, Wendy James and David Parkin
288 pages, 6 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-799-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2000)
ISBN 978-1-57181-800-3 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (October 2000)
eISBN 978-1-78920-392-9 eBook
"... breaks important ground ... the book brings together experienced veterans of the field encounter for a thoughtful discussion of the nature of anthropological research." · Journal of Anthropological Research
“This book offers a unique insight into the influence of one of the discipline’s most important theorists. James and Allen are thoughtful editors…their respect produces the best form of criticism in fourteen essays by British, and other European anthropologists … This is intriguing and stimulating reading … Mauss’s work receives careful attention in this book which is helpful, incisive, and broadly significant to anthropology." · JRAI
The tradition of intensive fieldwork by a single anthropologist in one area has been challenged by new emphasis on studying historical patterns, wider regions, and global networks. Some anthropologists have started their careers from the new vantage point, amidst a chorus of claims for innovative methodologies. Others have lived through these changes of perspective and are able to reflect on them, while re-evaluating the place of fieldwork within the broader aims of general anthropology. This book explores these transformations of world view and approach as they have been experienced by anthropological colleagues, a number of whom began their work very much in the earlier tradition. They cover experiences of field research in Africa, Papua New Guinea, South America, Central and South Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia, Japan and China. Constant through the chapters is a distinctively qualitative empirical approach, once associated with the village but now being developed in relation to large-scale or dispersed communities.
Paul Dresch has been working both on Yemeni history and the ethnography of the Arab Gulf. He taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, before being appointed Lecturer in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford.
Wendy James has taught at the Universities of Khartoum, Aarhus, and Bergen, and has research experience in the Sudan and Ethiopia. She has published on the history and anthropology of North East Africa and on general topics in religion and politics. She is currently Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford.
David Parkin has carried out field research in East Africa since 1962, much of it while at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. Current research interests include Islam, medical anthropology, socio-material prosthesis, and cross-cultural rhetorics. He is the Director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford.
Subject: Theory and Methodology Applied Anthropology
An interview with the social anthropologist David Parkin. Filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 17 March 2009 and edited by Sarah Harrison. Generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust.
An interview with the anthropologist Wendy James about her life and work. Filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 15th May 2009 and edited by Sarah Harrison. Generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust.
Chapter 1. Fieldwork and the Passage of Time
P. Dresch and W. James
Chapter 2. Indians and Cowboys: Two Field Experiences
Chapter 3. A View from Afar: Memories of New Guinea Highland Warfare
Chapter 4. Beyond the First Encounter: Transformations of "the Field" in North East Africa
Chapter 5. Templates, Evocations, and the Long-Term Fieldworker
Chapter 6. Wilderness of Mirrors: Truth and Vulnerability in Middle Eastern Fieldwork
Chapter 7. Serendipity: Reflections on Fieldwork in China
Chapter 8. Fieldwork and Reflexivity: Thoughts from the Anthropology of Japan
Chapter 9. Reflections of Life Crisis: Distancing the Personal
Chapter 10. Views of Jain History
Chapter 11. The Ethnomusicologist in the Wilderness
H. la Rue
Chapter 12. Trying to Get There: Approaches to Indonesia
R. H. Barnes
Chapter 13. The Field and the Desk: Choices and Linkages
N. J. Allen
Epilogue: Fieldwork Unfolding
Notes on contributors
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