The And Methodological Approaches Regarding Field Research Essay

The And Methodological Approaches Regarding Field Research Essay

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Over the course of this class, we have read various ethnographies and methodological approaches regarding field research. Some have been very helpful, providing new theoretical insight relevant to my own field work whereas others, while undoubtedly interesting, seem less relevant to my own circumstances. In this essay, I present what I thought was useful or not useful from these five assigned ethnographies.
First, what I enjoyed about Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think is the legitimacy he seeks to give non-human beings. As he argues, “Without realizing it we attribute to nonhuman properties that are our own, and then, to compound this, we narcissistically ask them to provide us with corrective reflection of ourselves” (21). Trees, animals, and other life forms besides humans then maintain a unique capability to participate in semiotics and thought. This anthropology “beyond the human” is essential to understanding how nature and the world, to which humans are just one of many parts, participate in its formations and significance (7). To push these theoretical assumptions and boundaries is ultimately something I hope to do as well. Nevertheless, that does not mean his unconventionality has left me at times perturbed and confused as to exactly what he is trying to prove or say. I am not sure if I am ready to claim ‘forests think’ without reading the rest of his book. In addition, for my research, non-human beings have not been the central focus of the research. I am more interested in what humans and non-human objects think and do not think, act and react, to the memorial’s structures and actors. While pigeons and trees are actors at my field and play an important role, non-human objects have a more prominent role to pl...


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...he original site. Paradoxically, absence is filled with presence at this shrine and my own site. Nevertheless, I am unsure exactly just how to fit in his ideas regarding the diaspora to the project. Being a tourist from within or outside America is one thing, but being a migrant or refugee, living among a different people and being absent from one’s family, would be a conceptualization I would have to further analyze and tweak to see if there are some related similarities. I am not sure I would consider the movement he is discussing as the same as mine, therefor, having a much different outcome potentially.
Overall, all five of these books provide unique perspectives on performing ethnography and conceptualizing the world and the field. While some may seem more appropriate for my current research, ultimately analyzing all of them has been a beneficial endeavor.

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