Contemporary Ethnographies is a call to use ethnography in imaginative ways, adjusting to rapidly evolving social circumstances. It is based on a reflexive and theoretically grounded exploration of the author’s two main research projects – the study of the spiritist possession cult of María Lionza in Venezuela, and the analysis of the contemporary exhumation of Civil War (1936–1939) mass graves in contemporary Spain. Ferrándiz critically reviews the labyrinthine and continuous transforming nature of ethnographic engagement. He defends both the need for methodological rigour and the astounding flexibility of ethnography to adjust in creative ways to shifting realities in a dynamic world – a world in which research scenarios multiply, social actors are on the move (physically or digitally), acts of violence proliferate, new technologies are transforming the experience and perception of human life, and the demand, production, circulation and consumption of knowledge is greatly diversified, overshadowing former well established and more hierarchical patterns of diffusion.
The book is conceived of as a historically grounded open debate, providing as many certainties as moments of unpredictability and unresolved dilemmas. It is valuable reading for students and scholars interested in ethnographic methods and anthropological theory.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: INTO THE LABYRINTH
1.1. Starting out
1.2. On ethnography 1.3. Scientific, hermeneutic and collaborative paradigms in anthropology 1.4. Brief history of fieldwork methods in anthropology and some classic examples
PART TWO: ETHNOGRAPHIES IN FLOW
2.1. Designing the research
2.2. Fieldwork as a methodological situation
2.3. Where to go?
2.5. Considering participant observation
2.6. On informants or interlocutors
2.7. Conversing, listening, interviewing and keeping quiet
2.8. Stories and itineraries of the body
2.9. Ethnography, audio-visual techniques and media, and new digital ecologies
2.10. Farewell to the field
2.11. Writing ethnography
PART THREE: ETHNOGRAPHIES OF THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
3.1. Globalization: evolving research scenarios
3.2. Walking the tight rope: transnational research and ‘multi-sited’ ethnography
3.3. The ethnography of shock: violence, conflict, and social suffering
3.3.1. From everyday violence…
3.3.2. ...to postconflict research
Francisco Ferrándiz is a tenured senior researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Spain). He has a Ph.D. in social and cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley. He has been actively engaged in public anthropology and the analysis of both grassroots and institutional memory politics in Spain and Europe. He is co-editor of Necropolitics: Mass Graves and Exhumations in the Age of Human Rights (2015).