It’s been years since anthropology set aside the fantasy of “the field” -- a bounded research site, where the locals, and the researcher studying them, are insulated from events in the wider world. But assumptions about “the field,” and what doing fieldwork will be like, are hard to shake. I knew full well, when I … Continue reading When the world invades “the field:” emotion, introspection, and ethnography
Every way of knowing is also a way of not knowing. Privileging one point of view, or one form of evidence, requires the erasure of other ways of perceiving and understanding the world. What do our cultures give us permission not to know? By what means are we permitted to blinker ourselves? And do our cultures ever encourage us to see those truths again?
In this case, I caught a brief moment of anticipation: a troop of men walking single file through the forest, carrying fresh-cut throwing staves called bhole, preparing to raid the villages of their friends and neighbors and steal away their chickens and produce.
Vijayendra Rao, the lead economist at the World Bank in the research department, talks to our own Ian Pollock about the role that anthropology and ethnography could play in helping poor or disempowered people engage with powerful institutions.