Affect, Attention, and Ethnographic Research: Thoughts on Mental Health in the Field

Really digging on this post from Savage Minds

Affect, Attention, and Ethnographic Research: Thoughts on Mental Health in the Field

March 30, 2016 

…In public spaces, personal and professional, it’s surprising how often our year or so of fieldwork is alluded to as the time of our lives. In methods courses as much as published writing, we generally get the feeling the fieldworker is having a great time (when they’re not, it’s often a contained experience, reframed as educational experience). Part of it is probably natural nostalgia. Part may be the very conditions of research (an advisor once warned me to be careful what you work on, as you’ll come to love it a little either way). And part of it may be our fear of the otherwise: we’ve all read Malinowski’s diaries, and stories of enjoyment somehow suggest mutuality, as if our experience means our interlocutors felt the same. The idea is that ethnography entails loving attention, and positive affect – passion, interest, and intimacy – is what prompts, drives, and directs our research. Despite decades critiquing the romanticization of field research, we still talk about it in pretty glowing terms….Read more

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s