My own fieldwork experience, like many others, demonstrates a blurring in what is ‘professional’ and ‘personal’, what is ‘leisure’ and ‘work’, whether you are researcher, student, or known by another identity. While researchers may strive to draw boundaries, distinctions in field research are blurry, because the nature of fieldwork means an element of the unknown and the out-of-control, and the intersection of different people, things, position, gender, power, knowledge and culture. As feminist geographers and anthropologists note, fieldwork is messy.
Anthropologists sometimes study sensitive topics and it is therefore not uncommon for ethnographic work to attract serious criticism along such lines. In a recent social media thread, I encountered one such critic whose principal argument was, that both I the ethnographer and the academic study of religion in general had no business writing about religious traditions (Shaligrams, in my case), should not be participating in rituals or engaging with sacred objects. What should the ethnographer’s response to this be then? What is our role in all this?
"Realistically there's many people - maybe most anthropologists - are caught up in their own world, like many people are, trying to just get ahead. That’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is that I try and do [good]. I try and move forward with it." Content Warning: This interview has mention of addictions and the rehabilitation process. … Continue reading Ep #55 Doing Right by Others: Robert Borofsky on the Value of Anthropology
This month, Kylie [0:50] kicks off our conversation by reflecting on our blog about racism in sport and asks us about the ethics of ad targeting on social media. This comes after we decided to try boosting the blog post through a paid Facebook advertisement, since we felt this was a topic that needed to … Continue reading Ep #49: Intolerable Ads, Introvert Anthros, Irrevocable Ties & Indigenous Symbols: This Month on TFS