Accepted Papers:

Keeping friends close, but enemies closer: theoretical and methodological negotiations of dominant invisibility within fieldwork at a city farmers' market  

Author:

Clare Perkins (University of Worcester)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper is an exploration of the active, creative, methodological repercussions of the uncloaking of anthropology's public invisibility within the field

Paper long abstract:

Upon conducting fieldwork at a farmer's market in Cardiff, South Wales, I began to interrogate the inter-relationship between 'alternative' and 'dominant' notions of identity as they are underpinned by negotiations of historical, political and geographical boundaries. Grounded by processes of globalisation, the communication of an 'exotic', 'unusual' or 'alternative' identity became a defining moment of my research.

Holding repercussions for my entry and acceptance within the 'field', my positioning and methodologies were illuminated in surprising ways. My presence was constantly negotiated as I encountered perplexing difficulties of access, as described by Eriksen (2006) when he addressed the public invisibility of anthropology itself. Consequentially, my continued presence was addressed according to the 'alternative-dominant' inter-relationship the very focus of my research. The resultant simultaneous 'presence and marginality' in my positioning as a researcher (Coffey 1992: 2) was, I found, conducive to gaining 'closeness' to individuals. Reflectively concerned with my positioning in fieldwork, this paper will demonstrate how anthropological engagements with the public have the ability to creatively re-configure current 'dominant' theoretical and methodological approaches to the practice of fieldwork and research more widely.

panel P11
Engaging anthropology and archaeology: theory, practice and publics