Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork and Ethnography

Jun 20, 2016 | 06:00 PM

Dr. Thomas Stodulka: Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork and Ethnography, lecture

Abstract

Fieldwork is a theoretically informed practice that can comprise of a complex kaleidoscope of research methods. But even more so, fieldwork is the anthropologists’ constant negotiation and reflection of their positionalities and involvements in relation to the people, places and phenomena they intend to study. Whatever emotions are involved during this process, ethnography is first and foremost an empathic enterprise of trying to relate to and understand others. There is no need to feel apologetic about the ‘inter-affective’ momen-tum of ethnographic data, neither as a struggling PhD-student nor as a discipline as such. Quite the contrary, anthropology with its unique practice of fieldwork has proven yet and again as the driving force for critical epistemologies and the advancement of genuine research methodologies. Instead of silencing fieldworkers’ emotional involvements I argue for an empirically pragmatic epistemology that acknowledges researchers’ affects as ethnographic data to the same extent as their more detached data sets. If done cautiously, researchers’ affects and emotions can unfold a robust episte-mological quality.

Time & Location

Jun 20, 2016 | 06:00 PM

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

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