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Layers of Memory, Boundaries of Ethnography
186 pages, 29 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-339-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78920-340-0 eBook
“…offers an insightful reflection on the intricacies of fieldwork with the written text that represents it…Being a well-written book that borders on memoir, it will also appeal to a general readership.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)
“This is an arresting autobiography by an influential British woman anthropologist. Sandra Wallman addresses practical, emotional [and] academic issues around the experience of bringing her family - husband and four young children - to the field in Bellino, a small isolated commune in the Italian alps, in the early 1970s.” • Helena Wulff, Stockholm University
In Sometime Kin, Sandra Wallman paints the portrait of an Alpine settlement – its history, economy and culture, and its unusual resistance to outsiders and modernization. Against this, her journal shows the villagers embracing her four small children and acting as participant observers in the two-way process of research. This project happened more than forty years ago and involved a uniquely large fieldwork family, but its insights have wider significance. The book argues that the intrusion of observation inevitably distorts the ordinary life observed, that the challenges of multi-vocality and “truth” are always with us, and that memory is the bedrock of every ethnographic enterprise.
Sandra Wallman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at University College London. Her many publications include Contemporary Futures: Perspectives from Social Anthropology (Routledge, 1992), The Capability of Places (Pluto Press, 2011), and the short story collection Listening for Water (Troubador, 2016).
Subject: Theory and MethodologySociology
Area: Southern Europe
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