This book addresses the difficult conditions researchers may face in the field and provides lessons in how to navigate the various social, political, economic, health, and environmental challenges involved in fieldwork. It also sheds important light on aspects often considered "secret" or taboo.
From anthropologists just starting out to those with over forty years in the field, these researchers offer the benefit of their experience conducting research in diverse cultures around the world. The contributions combine engaging personal narrative with consideration of theory and methods. The volume emphasizes how being adaptable, and aware, of the many risks and rewards of ethnographic research can help foster success in quantitative and qualitative data collection. This is a valuable resource for students of anthropological methods and those about to embark on fieldwork for the first time.
Bonnie L. Hewlett is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University, Vancouver. Her work focuses on topics relating to bio-cultural contexts of infectious diseases, hunter-gatherers, adolescent development, social learning, and the health and experiences of Ethiopian orphans, birthmothers and fathers. She has conducted field research in Gabon, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Central African Republic.
Bonnie L. Hewlett
Part 1: Paths into the Field
1. Learning Fields
2. Stumbling Around the Sacred: Some Personal Observations
Benjamin Grant Purzycki
3. From the Orinoco to Sorority Row: Searching for a Field Site as an Evolutionary Anthropologist
Part 2: Gendered Relations and Other Challenges in the Field
4. Doing Ethnomusicological Research as a White Woman in Cameroon and the Central African Republic
5. A Boss, a Mother, a Red Antelope, and All the Things in Between
Sylvie Le Bomin
6. Culturally Appropriate Solutions to Fieldwork Challenges Among the Mbendjele BaYaka Hunter-Gatherers of the Congo Basin
Part 3: The Observer and the Observed: The Metamorphosis of Research, Methods, and the Researcher
7. My Life in the School of Hard Knocks: How an Aspiring Anthropologist Became a White Cameroonian
8. SpaßEURmin, Ethnographers and Mixed Methods
9. Mothering in the Field: Participant Observation on Cultural Transmission
10. The Quiet Joy of Fieldworkers in the Kalahari
Part 4: Dangerous Fields
11. The Origins of Surviving Fieldwork
12. When All Hell Breaks Loose: Conducting Ethnographic Fieldwork Amid Gunplay, Catastrophe, and Mayhem
J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat
Part 5: Ethics, Advocacy, and Other Everyday Moral Dilemmas of Research
13. Surviving Agta Fieldwork
Thomas N. Headland with Janet D. Headland
14. Do You Consent to Participate in the Research Study?
15. Who Owns the Poop? And Other Ethical Dilemmas Facing an Anthropologist Who Works at the Interface of Biological Research and Indigenous Rights
16. But What if the "Field" is a Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory? How it Happened, What it's Like. The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly
Appendix: Regional Packing List and Other Favorite Items in the Field