A view from the remote Philippine highlands where the author’s time in the kalinga homeland was packed with the elements of a thriller novel: mystery, danger, sex, violence, death—and research too!
Ants for Breakfast is about the adventure of modern archaeology. Seeking insight into prehistoric pottery manufacture and use, archaeologist James Skibo traveled to the remote Phillippine highlands to live with the Kalinga people, once headhunters, and one of the few groups in the world who still use ceramics for cooking.
Even as he looked for clues to the past in the practices of the present, the author’s time in the Kalinga homeland was packed with excitment: mystery, danger, sex, violence, and death. It was also an opportunity to taste a world both subtly and vastly different, while adding a new perspective to his own. In the course of his narrative, Skibo seizes every opportunity to link his experiences to the development of modern archaeology, and to such topics as human evolution, the peopling of the world, animal domestication, cultural logic, food taboos, basketball, Indiana Jones, and even Imelda Marcos.
H. L. Goodall’s ground-breaking study of what people do with symbols and what symbols do to people explores the lives led by people in organizations. His narratives take on the form of six detective mysteries in which the narrator figures into the plot of the intrigue and then works out its essential patterns.
In the first mystery, "Notes on a Cultural Evolution: The Remaking of a Software Company," Goodall looks at the transition of a Huntsville regional office of a Boston-based computer software company where the lives and social dramas of the participants reflect the current state of high technology. The second essay and perhaps the most insightful, "The Way the World Ends: Inside Star Wars," penetrates the various defenses of the Star Wars command office in Huntsville to discover its secrets and surprises. Goodall shows how media, technology, fear of relationships, and symbolic images of the future unite into the day-to-day operations of people who believe they are responsible for the outer limits of our nation’s defense.
"Lost in Space: The Layers of Illusion Called Adult Space Camp" illustrates how a supposedly innocent theme park invites participation in rituals and ceremonies designed to influence a future generation of taxpayers. In "Articles of Faith," Goodall enters a super mall in Huntsville, noting how shopping centers provide consumers with far more than places to purchase goods and services. "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" finds Goodall back in an academic environment, at a conference of communication scholars, where he demonstrates the difficult task of translating cultural understandings from one context to another. "The Consultant as Organizational Detective" offers the sobering message that real-life mysteries may surprise even the most accomplished sleuth. A concluding chapter, "Notes on Method," and a new autobiographical afterword round out Goodall’s penetrating look at our symbol-making culture.
For most of us the word "desert" conjures up images of barren wasteland, vast, dry stretches inimical to life. But for a great array of creatures, perhaps even more plentiful than those who inhabit tropical rainforests, the desert is a haven and a home. Travel with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the American Southwest and you will encounter a rich and memorable variety of these small, tenacious animals, many of them first discovered by Mares in areas never before studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into these hostile habitats, we observe the remarkable behavioral, physiological, and ecological adaptations that have allowed such little-known species of rodents, bats, and other small mammals to persist in an arid world. At the same time, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that await biologists who venture into the field to investigate new habitats, discover new species, and add to our knowledge of the diversity of life.Filled with the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A Desert Calling affords an intimate understanding of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the range and variety of knowledge to be acquired through the determined investigation of little-known habitats, Mares opens a window on his own uncommon life, as well as on the uncommon life of the remote and mysterious corners of our planet.
Significant scholarship exists on anthropological fieldwork and methodologies. Some anthropologists have also published memoirs of their research experiences. Renowned anthropologist Jeffrey Cohen’s Eating Soup without a Spoon is a first-of-its-kind hybrid of the two, expertly melding story with methodology to create a compelling narrative of fieldwork that is deeply grounded in anthropological theory.
Cohen’s first foray into fieldwork was in 1992, when he lived in Santa Anna del Valle in rural Oaxaca, Mexico. While recounting his experiences studying how rural folks adapted to far-reaching economic changes, Cohen is candid about the mistakes he made and the struggles in the village. From the pressures of gaining the trust of a population to the fear of making errors in data collection, Cohen explores the intellectual processes behind ethnographic research. He offers tips for collecting data, avoiding pitfalls, and embracing the chaos and shocks that come with working in an unfamiliar environment. Cohen’s own photographs enrich his vivid portrayals of daily life.
In this groundbreaking work, Cohen discusses the adventure, wonder, community, and friendships he encountered during his first year of work, but, first and foremost, he writes in service to the field as a place to do research: to test ideas, develop theories, and model how humans cope and react to the world.
A study of how doing field research submerged in a different culture impacts one's sense of identity.
Once in a great while, as the New York Times noted recently, a naturalist writes a book that changes the way people look at the living world. John James Audubon’s Birds of America, published in 1838, was one. Roger Tory Peterson’s 1934 Field Guide to the Birds was another. How does such insight into nature develop?Pioneering a new niche in the study of plants and animals in their native habitat, Field Notes on Science and Nature allows readers to peer over the shoulders and into the notebooks of a dozen eminent field workers, to study firsthand their observational methods, materials, and fleeting impressions.What did George Schaller note when studying the lions of the Serengeti? What lists did Kenn Kaufman keep during his 1973 “big year”? How does Piotr Naskrecki use relational databases and electronic field notes? In what way is Bernd Heinrich’s approach “truly Thoreauvian,” in E. O. Wilson’s view? Recording observations in the field is an indispensable scientific skill, but researchers are not generally willing to share their personal records with others. Here, for the first time, are reproductions of actual pages from notebooks. And in essays abounding with fascinating anecdotes, the authors reflect on the contexts in which the notes were taken.Covering disciplines as diverse as ornithology, entomology, ecology, paleontology, anthropology, botany, and animal behavior, Field Notes offers specific examples that professional naturalists can emulate to fine-tune their own field methods, along with practical advice that amateur naturalists and students can use to document their adventures.
Field research—the collection of information outside a lab or workplace setting—requires skills and knowledge not typically taught in the classroom. Fieldwork demands exploratory inquisitiveness, empathy to encourage interviewees to trust the researcher, and sufficient aptitude to work professionally and return home safely. The Field Researcher’s Handbook provides a practical guide to planning and executing fieldwork and presenting the results.
Based on his experience conducting field research in more than fifty countries and teaching others a holistic approach to field research, David J. Danelo introduces the skills new researchers will need in the field, including anthropology, travel logistics planning, body language recognition, interview preparation, storytelling, network development, and situational awareness. His time as a combat veteran in the US Marine Corps further enhances his knowledge of how to be observant and operate safely in any environment. Danelo also discusses ethical considerations and how to recognize personal biases. This handbook is intended for researchers in a variety of academic disciplines but also for government, think-tank, and private-sector researchers.
As much as one-tenth of the world’s oceans are covered with sea ice, or frozen ocean water, at some point during the annual cycle. Sea ice thus plays an important, often defining, role in the natural environment and the global climate system. This book is a global look at the changes in sea ice and the tools and techniques used to measure and record those changes. The first comprehensive research done on sea-ice field techniques, this volume will be indispensable for the study of northern sea ice and a must-have for scientists in the field of climate change research.
In Fieldwork Dilemmas ten anthropologists disclose the political and physical dangers inherent in field research. Focusing on former socialist states, they vividly depict the upheavals of everyday life in eastern Euorpe, revealing how their informants and the communities in which they live undergo political and economic dislocations, plummeting living standards, emerging gender inequalities, and ethnic and nationalist violence.
Reports from Armenia, Bulgaria, eastern Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, and Uzbekistan show how fieldworkers struggle to reconcile previous experiences with postsocialist stereotypes about Soviet culture, the West, and the effects of the penetration of capitalism into noncapitalist societies. These fieldwork dilemmas are analyzed by anthropologists who are learning to position themselves professionally and personally in the field under often unstable, unpredictable situations. This volume will interest not only anthropologists but fieldworkers of all kinds, and not only scholars of eastern Europe but all those who study rapid societal changes.
The persistence of deep moral disagreements—across cultures as well as within them—has created widespread skepticism about the objectivity of morality. Moral relativism, moral pessimism, and the denigration of ethics in comparison with science are the results. Fieldwork in Familiar Places challenges the misconceptions about morality, culture, and objectivity that support these skepticisms, to show that we can take moral disagreement seriously and yet retain our aspirations for moral objectivity.Michele Moody-Adams critically scrutinizes the anthropological evidence commonly used to support moral relativism. Drawing on extensive knowledge of the relevant anthropological literature, she dismantles the mystical conceptions of “culture” that underwrite relativism. She demonstrates that cultures are not hermetically sealed from each other, but are rather the product of eclectic mixtures and borrowings rich with contradictions and possibilities for change. The internal complexity of cultures is not only crucial for cultural survival, but will always thwart relativist efforts to confine moral judgments to a single culture. Fieldwork in Familiar Places will forever change the way we think about relativism: anthropologists, psychologists, historians, and philosophers alike will be forced to reconsider many of their theoretical presuppositions.Moody-Adams also challenges the notion that ethics is methodologically deficient because it does not meet standards set by natural science. She contends that ethics is an interpretive enterprise, not a failed naturalistic one: genuine ethical inquiry, including philosophical ethics, is a species of interpretive ethnography. We have reason for moral optimism, Moody-Adams argues. Even the most serious moral disagreements take place against a background of moral agreement, and thus genuine ethical inquiry will be fieldwork in familiar places. Philosophers can contribute to this enterprise, she believes, if they return to a Socratic conception of themselves as members of a rich and complex community of moral inquirers.
National Geographic has been called a window on the world and a passport to adventure. Each month an estimated forty million people in 190 countries open its pages and are transported to exotic realms that delight the eye and mind. Such widespread renown gives the magazine's writers an almost magical access to people and happenings, as doors that are closed to the rest of the journalistic world open wide.
Thomas Y. Canby was fortunate to be a NationalGeographic writer and science editor from 1961 to 1991, a time during which the Society's ventures and size grew by leaps and bounds and the resources available to staff were seemingly limitless. In From Botswana to the Bering Sea, he gives readers an on-the-ground look at the life of a National Geographic field staffer and an insider's view of the fascinating dynamics within the magazine's editorial chambers.
Canby's assignments dealt largely with issues of global concern, and his travels took him to the farthest reaches of the planet. This book gives the reader the visas and tickets to share in Canby's experiences -- from a Filipino rice harvest capped by a feast of deep-fried rats, to impoverished villages of Asia and Africa gripped by the world's most widespread famine, to seal hunting and dog sledding with Eskimos in the Canadian high Arctic. Readers match wits with paranoid guardians of the secret Soviet space program; skirt land mines in the flaming oil fields of Kuwait; and dodge death while scuba diving to an archaeological site in a Florida sinkhole. The book also gives insight into the magazine's inner workings: how article subjects are chosen; how writers are assigned and interact; how prolonged trips to impossibly remote destinations are planned; how staffers operate in the field.
Working for National Geographic has been called "the best job in the world." From Botswana to the Bering Sea describes that unique job, and answers from first-hand knowledge the question Canby and his colleagues are so often asked: "So, what is it like to work for National Geographic?"
Scholars have long recognized that ethnographic method is bound up with the construction of theory in ways that are difficult to teach. The reason, Allaine Cerwonka and Liisa H. Malkki argue, is that ethnographic theorization is essentially improvisatory in nature, conducted in real time and in necessarily unpredictable social situations. In a unique account of, and critical reflection on, the process of theoretical improvisation in ethnographic research, they demonstrate how both objects of analysis, and our ways of knowing and explaining them, are created and discovered in the give and take of real life, in all its unpredictability and immediacy.
Improvising Theory centers on the year-long correspondence between Cerwonka, then a graduate student in political science conducting research in Australia, and her anthropologist mentor, Malkki. Through regular e-mail exchanges, Malkki attempted to teach Cerwonka, then new to the discipline, the basic tools and subtle intuition needed for anthropological fieldwork. The result is a strikingly original dissection of the processual ethics and politics of method in ethnography.
Contributors tell of confronting North American bears, cougars, and rattlesnakes; suffering red ctenid spider bites in the tropical rain forest; swimming through layers of feeding-frenzied hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos; evading the wrath of African bull elephants in South Africa; and delighting in the curious and gentle nature of foxes and unconditional acceptance by a family of owls. They describe “fire in the sky” across a treeless tundra, a sea ablaze with bioluminescent algae, nighttime earthquakes on the Pacific Rim, and hurricanes and erupting volcanoes on a Caribbean island.
Into the Night reveals rare and unexpected insights into nocturnal field research, illuminating experiences, discoveries, and challenges faced by intrepid biologists studying nature’s nightly marvels across the globe. This volume will be of interest to scientists and general readers alike.
For the late Fuad I. Khuri, a distinguished career as an anthropologist began not because of typical concerns like accessibility, money, or status, but because the very idea of an occupation that baffled his countrymen made them—and him—laugh. “When I tell them that ‘anthropology’ is my profession . . . they think I am either speaking a strange language or referring to a new medicine.” This profound appreciation for humor, especially in the contradictions inherent in the study of cultures, is a distinctive theme of An Invitation to Laughter, Khuri’s astute memoir of life as an anthropologist in the Middle East.
A Christian Lebanese, Khuri offers up in this unusual autobiography both an insider’s and an outsider’s perspective on life in Lebanon, elsewhere in the Middle East, and in West Africa. Khuri entertains and informs with clever insights into such issues as the mentality of Arabs toward women, eating habits of the Arab world, the impact of Islam on West Africa, and the extravagant lifestyles of wealthy Arabs, and even offers a vision for a type of democracy that could succeed in the Middle East. In his life and work, as these astonishing essays make evident, Khuri demonstrated how the discipline of anthropology continues to make a difference in bridging dangerous divides.
Living Folklore is a comprehensive, straightforward introduction to folklore as it is lived, shared and practiced in contemporary settings. Drawing on examples from diverse American groups and experiences, this text gives the student a strong foundation—from the field's history and major terms to theories and interpretive approaches.
Living Folklore moves beyond genres and classifications, and encourages students who are new to the field to see the study of folklore as a unique approach to understanding people, communities, and day-to-day artistic communication.
This revised edition incorporates new examples, research, and theory along with added discussion of digital and online folklore.
Living Folklore is a comprehensive, straightforward introduction to folklore as it is lived, shared and practiced in contemporary settings. Drawing on examples from diverse American groups and experiences, this text gives the student a strong foundation—from the field’s history and major terms to theories, interpretive approaches, and fieldwork.
Many teachers of undergraduates find the available folklore textbooks too complex or unwieldy for an introductory level course. It is precisely this criticism that Living Folklore addresses; while comprehensive and rigorous, the book is specifically intended to meet the needs of those students who are just beginning their study of the discipline. Its real strength lies in how it combines carefully articulated foundational concepts with relevant examples and a student-oriented teaching philosophy.
The mass shooting at a queer Latin Night in Orlando in July 2016 sparked a public conversation about access to pleasure and selfhood within conditions of colonization, violence, and negation. Queer Nightlife joins this conversation by centering queer and trans people of color who apprehend the risky medium of the night to explore, know, and stage their bodies, genders, and sexualities in the face of systemic and social negation. The book focuses on house parties, nightclubs, and bars that offer improvisatory conditions and possibilities for “stranger intimacies,” and that privilege music, dance, and sexual/gender expressions. Queer Nightlife extends the breadth of research on “everynight life” through twenty-five essays and interviews by leading scholars and artists. The book’s four sections move temporally from preparing for the night (how do DJs source their sounds, what does it take to travel there, who promotes nightlife, what do people wear?); to the socialities of nightclubs (how are social dance practices introduced and taught, how is the price for sex negotiated, what styles do people adopt to feel and present as desirable?); to the staging and spectacle of the night (how do drag artists confound and celebrate gender, how are spaces designed to create the sensation of spectacularity, whose bodies become a spectacle already?); and finally, how the night continues beyond the club and after sunrise (what kinds of intimacies and gestures remain, how do we go back to the club after Orlando?).
"We all know that the actual process of empirical research is a messy, complicated business that at best only approximates the models we impart to students. Research Confidential pulls back the curtain on this process, laying bare the sordid details of the research process, but doing so in a way that respects the ideals of social research and that provides useful lessons for young scholars. It should be required reading for our research methods courses."
---Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
"In this impressive volume, some of the brightest young lights in social research have taken us backstage to share what they learned from their innovative projects. Besides providing a wealth of help with methodological concerns, the book includes theoretical and career issues to consider when doing research. Anyone doing research should benefit from reading it."
---Caroline Hodges Persell, Professor of Sociology, New York University
"Research Confidential complements existing methods literature by providing refreshingly honest accounts of key challenges and decision forks-in-the-research-road. Each chapter enlightens and entertains."
---Kirsten Foot, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Washington
"A must-read for researchers embarking on new projects. Rather than the abstract descriptions of most methods textbooks, this volume provides rich accounts of the firsthand experiences of actual researchers. An invaluable resource of practical advice. Critically, it will make new researchers aware of the actual challenges that they are likely to face in their work."
---Christopher Winship, editor of Sociological Methods and Research and Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
This collection of essays aims to fill a notable gap in the existing literature on research methods in the social sciences. While the methods literature is extensive, rarely do authors discuss the practical issues and challenges they routinely confront in the course of their research projects. As a result, editor Eszter Hargittai argues, each new cohort is forced to reinvent the wheel, making mistakes that previous generations have already confronted and resolved. Research Confidential seeks to address this failing by supplying new researchers with the kind of detailed practical information that can make or break a given project. Written in an informal, accessible, and engaging manner by a group of prominent young scholars, many of whom are involved in groundbreaking research in online contexts, this collection promises to be a valuable tool for graduate students and educators across the social sciences.
Eszter Hargittai is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
Cover art courtesy of Dustin Gerard
When culture makes itself at home in motion, where does an anthropologist stand? In a follow-up to The Predicament of Culture, one of the defining books for anthropology in the last decade, James Clifford takes the proper measure: a moving picture of a world that doesn't stand still, that reveals itself en route, in the airport lounge and the parking lot as much as in the marketplace and the museum.In this collage of essays, meditations, poems, and travel reports, Clifford takes travel and its difficult companion, translation, as openings into a complex modernity. He contemplates a world ever more connected yet not homogeneous, a global history proceeding from the fraught legacies of exploration, colonization, capitalist expansion, immigration, labor mobility, and tourism. Ranging from Highland New Guinea to northern California, from Vancouver to London, he probes current approaches to the interpretation and display of non-Western arts and cultures. Wherever people and things cross paths and where institutional forces work to discipline unruly encounters, Clifford's concern is with struggles to displace stereotypes, to recognize divergent histories, to sustain "postcolonial" and "tribal" identities in contexts of domination and globalization.Travel, diaspora, border crossing, self-location, the making of homes away from home: these are transcultural predicaments for the late twentieth century. The map that might account for them, the history of an entangled modernity, emerges here as an unfinished series of paths and negotiations, leading in many directions while returning again and again to the struggles and arts of cultural encounter, the impossible, inescapable tasks of translation.
Contributors. Lars Buur, Mitchell Dean, Akhil Gupta, Thomas Blom Hansen, Steffen Jensen, Aletta J. Norval, David Nugent, Sarah Radcliffe, Rachel Sieder, Finn Stepputat, Martijn van Beek, Oskar Verkaaik, Fiona Wilson
Since 1980, The Tape-Recorded Interview has been an essential resource for folklorists and oral historians—indeed, for anyone who uses a tape recorder in field research. Now, Sandy Ives has updated this manual to reflect the current preferences in tape-recording technology and equipment.
When this book was first published, the reel-to-reel recorder was the favored format for fieldwork. Because the cassette recorder has almost completely replaced it, Ives has revised the first chapter, “How a Tape Recorder Works,” accordingly and has included a useful discussion of the differences between analog and digital recording. He has also added a brief section on video, updated the bibliography, and reworked his original comments on tape cataloging and transcription.
As in the first edition, Ives’s emphasis is on documenting the lives of common men and women. He offers a careful, step-by-step tour through the collection process—finding informants, making advance preparations, conducting the actual interview, obtaining a release—and then describes the procedures for processing the taped interview and archiving such materials for future use. He also gives special treatment to such topics as recording music, handling group interviews, and using photographs or other visual material during interviews.
In the heart of Wyoming sprawls the ancient homeland of the Eastern Shoshone Indians, who were forced by the U.S. government to share a reservation in the Wind River basin and flanking mountain ranges with their historical enemy, the Northern Arapahos. Both tribes lost their sovereign, wide-ranging ways of life and economic dependence on decimated buffalo. Tribal members subsisted on increasingly depleted numbers of other big game—deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. In 1978, the tribal councils petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help them recover their wildlife heritage. Bruce Smith became the first wildlife biologist to work on the reservation. Wildlife on the Wind recounts how he helped Native Americans change the course of conservation for some of America's most charismatic wildlife.
Around 400 BCE, inhabitants of the Southern Andes took up a sedentary lifestyle that included the practice of agriculture. Settlements were generally solitary or clustered structures with walled agricultural fields and animal corrals, and the first small villages appeared in some regions. Surprisingly, people were also producing and circulating exotic goods: polychrome ceramics, copper and gold ornaments, bronze bracelets and bells. To investigate the apparent contradiction between a lack of social complexity and the broad circulation of elaborated goods, archaeologist Joan Gero co-directed a binational project to excavate the site of Yutopian, an unusually well-preserved Early Formative village in the mountains of Northwest Argentina.
In Yutopian, Gero describes how archaeologists from the United States and Argentina worked with local residents to uncover the lifeways of the earliest sedentary people of the region. Gero foregounds many experiential aspects of archaeological fieldwork that are usually omitted in the archaeological literature: the tedious labor and constraints of time and personnel, the emotional landscape, the intimate ethnographic settings and Andean people, the socio-politics, the difficult decisions and, especially, the role that ambiguity plays in determining archaeological meanings. Gero’s unique approach offers a new model for the site report as she masterfully demonstrates how the decisions made in conducting any scientific undertaking play a fundamental role in shaping the knowledge produced in that project.
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