‘What are We in Fieldwork for?’ Ethics and Politics of Ethnographic Research

Abstract / Excerpt:

The practice of ethnographic fieldwork is first experienced as a social intervention before it is transformed into a textual invention. Fieldworkers do not only work in the field, however the field is understood; they also work it. In the process of inserting themselves into a community or accompanying a group in their movement they also encounter, delight in, collide with, adjust to, miss or misunderstand other people's actions and reactions. They impact on the lives of the people involved in their study perhaps as much as those people transform the researchers' views of things. Fieldworkers then move almost inevitably from the already complex participant observation to an even more entangled, often multistranded, partisan participation (Gupta & Ferguson 1997; Marcus 1995). This seems especially true in studying nascent social movements in the context of contested development projects (Gardener & Lewis 1996; Albert 1997) as the following reflection on a Philippine case wishes to show.

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Source JournalTambara
Journal VolumeTambara Vol. 18
AuthorsAlbert E. Alejo, SJ
Page Count14
Place of PublicationDavao City
Original Publication DateDecember 1, 2001
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