Knowledge: Students acquire up-to-date knowledge of the anthropological method of ethnographic field research by reflecting on all its phases. Students obtain insights into contextual influences on fieldwork reports.
Skills: Students are able to deal adequately with methodological, theoretical and ethical aspects of situated knowledge. Students are able to write a coherent scholarly report and to offer oral presentations of their work.
Attitudes: Students are able to adopt a positive critical attitude towards the results of multi-level comparison in ethnographic field research.
|Contents (Inhoud / Omschrijving)
This course will examine the anthropological method of ethnographic field research, partly in relation to the history of comparative research in anthropology. Anthropology was born as a comparative discipline in the nineteenth century. The then dominant paradigm of evolutionism, however, led anthropological research to be largely based on the comparison of material that had been collected by early travellers and explorers. In the early twentieth century, anthropologists themselves began travelling to collect first-hand data, initially mainly in non-western societies but soon also in western societies. The focus of research in anthropology has consequently shifted from cross-cultural comparison at macro-levels to a more complex method of multi-level comparison that is usually described as ethnographic field research.
In this course we shall examine and discuss all phases of ethnographic research, ranging from the initial moments of selecting a topic, a field site and establishing contact in a community to the analysis of field notes and the publication of the results in the form of a monograph. Students will read reflective articles as well as monographs and critical re-studies of these monographs in order to understand how in anthropology collecting information, reporting and theorizing can be subject to contextual and historical influences. The following questions will guide the discussions: What are the social, theoretical and ideological contexts that provide the frameworks for ordering and presenting the data and how does this affect conclusions? Which methodological, theoretical or ethical questions have been raised in specific ethnographies and critical restudies thereof? By studying both original texts and secondary literature on controversies resulting from re-studies, students will gain a better understanding of these issues. Themes that will be discussed include: ethnographic authority and responsibility, multi-vocality and positionality, problems of cultural comparison and defining comparative concepts, positioning sources, critiques of post-modernism, and changing interpretations of change in the field and of ethical codes.
- A folder with articles will be made available for photocopying in the library. Each student will also read one ethnographic monograph.
|Teaching methods (Werkvormen)
Seminars and student presentations
Dr. A.H.M. van Meijl
|Enrollment ( Inschrijving college )
This is not for the RM SCS
|Exam enrollment ( Inschrijving tentamen )
This is not for the RM SCS