Featuring a mix of American and Third World anthropologies, FIELDWORK concentrates on the experiences of investigators studying the inner workings of society by entering into the life of its members. There is an obvious paradox here: anthropologists are both observers and participants. Despite attempts to remain objective, the fieldworker comes to think and act as a member of the target culture. Without this personal involvement ethnographic study becomes sterile, but because of it, detached, scientific objectivity is impossible. However, disciplined subjectivity is attainable through clarification of the human variations in fieldwork. This book explores the fascinating variations, ranging from a chapter by the dean of the American anthropology Charles Wagley, in which he relates his experiences in the 1930s among the Indians in the highlands of Guatemala, to one on recent fieldwork in an Arizona school district. Each chapter offers a unique perspective on the important issues of fieldworker identity and its development in traditional and modern fieldwork.
Introduction: Human Variations in Fieldwork 1 Learning Fieldwork: Guatemala 2 On First Being an Anthropologist 3 From Structure to History in Malaya 4 Field Experience in Three Societies 5 The Conversion of a Missionary 6 Contrasting Experiences in Fieldwork 7 Between Being Near and Distant: Reflections on Initial Approaches and Experiences of an Indian Anthropologist 8 "Come Ahead, If You Dare" 9 Feds and Locals: Stages of Fieldwork in Applied Anthropology 10 Initial Encounter, Choice, and Change in Field Research 11 Filipinos Were My Teachers 12 The Observer Observed: Changing Identities of Ethnographers in a Northeastern Thai Village