Sex : Ethnographic Encounters book cover
1st Edition

Ethnographic Encounters

ISBN 9781474294713
Published October 4, 2018 by Routledge
232 Pages

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Book Description

Focusing on the unacknowledged, personal and often unconscious dimension, Sex explores the intersection between sex and ethnography. Anthropological writing tends to focus on the influence of status markers such as position, gender, ethnicity, and age on fieldwork. By contrast, far less attention has been paid to how sex, sexuality, eroticism, desire, attraction, and rejection affect ethnographic research. In the book, anthropologists reflect on their own encounters with sex during fieldwork, revealing how attraction and desire influence the choice of fieldwork subjects, field sites and friendships. They also examine the resulting impact on fieldwork findings and the generation of knowledge. Based on fieldwork in Germany, Denmark, Greece, the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, and India, the contributors go beyond the common heterosexuality/homosexuality divide to address topics which include celibacy, polyamory and sadomasochism. This long overdue text provides perspectives from a new generation of anthropologists and brings the debate into the 21st century. Examining challenging and controversial issues in contemporary fieldwork, this is essential reading for students in anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, sociology, research methods, and ethics courses.

Table of Contents

ForewordJohn Borneman, Princeton University, USAIntroductionRichard Joseph Martin, Harvard University, USA and Dieter Haller, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany1. Towards an Intimately 'Impure' Ethnography: The Limits of Non-Participant ObservationTimothy M. Hall, University of California, Los Angeles, USA2. When Bodies Talk: Indulging AnthropologySebastian Mohr, Aarhus University, Denmark3. 'Going With': Desire and Power Amid the Politics of Asylum in GreeceHeath Cabot, College of the Atlantic, USA4. (Un)Changing Men in the Face of AIDS in South AfricaHanspeter Reihling, Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany5. Fieldwork and Erotic Subjectivity in an American NeoPagan CommunitySusan Harper, Texas Women's University, USA6. The Anthropologist’s New Clothes: Ethnographic Exposure and BDSM in BerlinRichard Joseph Martin, Harvard University, USA7. A Camel Walks into a Brothel: Passing Anxieties in the Sexual Economies of BrazilGregory C. Mitchell, Williams College, USA8. In Bed with My Informant: Navigating Intimacy and Ethics in SingaporeAdlina Maulud, Purdue University, USA9. Dating a Gypsy Punk Musician and Ethnographic Fieldwork among Brazilian RomaniesDiana Budur, Princeton University, USA10. Public Vegetarianism and Public Menstruation: Staging Chastity in GujaratAndrea Luithle-Hardenberg, Tubingen University, Germany11. The Naked Fear: Desire and Identity in MoroccoDieter Haller, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany12. Faux Amis: On the Morals of Not Being Gay in IstanbulSamuel Williams, Musée du quai Branly, France13. Im/Possibilities in the Field: Lessons from JerusalemRobert Phillips, Ball State University, USAGuide for Further ReadingWilliam Leap, American University, USABibliographyIndex

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Richard Joseph Martin is Preceptor in Expository Writing at Harvard University, USA. Dieter Haller is Professor of Social Anthropology at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.


"At last, a comprehensive volume on sex that crosses oceans and brings ethnographers from across the globe into conversation with one another. Work in this field has too long been ghettoized in narrow domains, either topically or geographically, and this rich collection overcomes longstanding barriers and lays a foundation for new forms of comparison and theoretical innovation, expanding the boundaries of what we all thought we meant by “sex.” - Ellen Lewin, University of Iowa, USA Taking us from Brazilian saunas to a refugee NGO in Greece, from queer Malay Muslims in Singapore to NeoPagans in Texas, these thirteen essays reveal how sex unsettles fieldwork. Contributors reflect on how bodily intimacies, kindlings of lust or longing, and moments of recognition or crossed signals generate fresh ethnographic insight. This is a candid, vulnerable, and thought-provoking volume on sex and ethnography today. - Margot Weiss, Wesleyan University, USA More than 20 years after “Taboo” (Kulick/Wilson, 1995) and “Out in the field” (Lewin/Leap, 1996), these encounters in the field give fresh and ground-breaking insights into the social experience of sex in various ways. Enclosing a wide range of locations, practices and desires, the well-reflected reports of embodied fieldwork show the diversity of “doing relations” with and through sex and intimacy. Overall, this anthology will strengthen the links between queer studies and anthropology. - Beate Binder, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany"