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Sometime Kin: Layers of Memory, Boundaries of Ethnography

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Sometime Kin

Layers of Memory, Boundaries of Ethnography

Sandra Wallman

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

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $27.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“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 & Methodology in Anthropology Sociology
Area: Southern Europe


List of Figures


Chapter 1. Perspectives
Chapter 2. Setting
Chapter 3. Boundaries
Chapter 4. Population
Chapter 5. Children
Chapter 6. School
Chapter 7. Money and Property
Chapter 8. Work
Chapter 9. Animals
Chapter 10. Marie
Chapter 11. Caterina
Chapter 12. Margherita
Chapter 13. Martin
Chapter 14. Twenty-five Years On

Ethnographer’s Epilogue

Cast of Characters

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