Earlier this week I organised a lecture by a Professor of Anthropology on ethnographic methods for doctoral researchers across other disciplines. I stayed for the full session myself too. As I have said on this blog repeatedly already, my attitude towards anthropology is like that of a fangirl. I admit that must have a lot to do with my romanticised idea of the discipline. Nevertheless, my suspicions were confirmed when the professor said that anthropologists have a special relationship with ethnographic methods, feeling that they *own* the methods, even though the methods are now popularly used in many other disciplines too. (In fact on several occasions he used “anthropological methods” and “ethnographic methods” interchangeably.) And it broke my heart a little when he described anthropology as distinct from studies of texts, archives, and … the internet. It didn’t seem that anyone was bothered by that split-second remark, but to me it felt like someone closed the door on me – a door to a cool club that I was snooping around, hoping to be invited in.
Anyway, it was a fantastic talk and I was able to take away many gems of reading suggestions.
- Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea (Bronislaw Malinowski, 1922) – especially the introduction.
- Writing Culture (James Clifford & George E. Marcus, 1986/2010).
- Enforcing Order (Didier Fassin, 2013).
- The Political Biography of an Earthquake: Aftermath and Amnesia in Gujarat, India (Edward Simpson, 2014).
- The Bachelors’ Ball: The Crisis of Peasant Society in Béarn (Pierre Bourdieu, 2007).
- The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society (Pierre Bourdieu et al., 2000) – especially the interview sections.
- The history of Bhuj as told by its own historians (Edward Simpson & Kai Kresse, 2007).
- Fieldwork and the perception of everyday life (Timothy Jenkins, 1994).
- Keepers of the Flame: Understanding Amnesty International (Stephen Hopgood, 2006).
- The anthropology of international development (David Mosse, 2013).