Accepted paper:

Dialogues with Anthropologists

Author:

Judith Okely (Oxford University/University of Hull)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation draws on biographical accounts elicited from anthropologists in informal taped interviews. The fieldwork of some twenty two anthropologists ranges from Afghanistan in the late 1960s to Senegal from 2000. The unexpected outcome was the extraordinary range of commonalities in the anthropologists’ responses and research practices.Interviews were conducted not between strangers, but as trusting exchanges between fellow anthropologists where the interviewer intervened with similarities or contrasts.

Paper long abstract:

Anthropologists have done brilliant and original fieldwork around the globe. A legacy of positivism has discouraged full exploration of the narratives of experience as individual, positioned researcher. This presentation draws on biographical accounts I elicited from anthropologists in informal taped interviews. The fieldwork of some twenty two anthropologists ranges from Afghanistan in the late 1960s to Senegal from 2000. The anthropologists are of varied nationalities and ages. The fieldwork included localities in South America, India, Europe, South East Asia and Africa. The unexpected outcome was the extraordinary range of commonalities in the anthropologists' responses and research practices. Their experiences challenged the banality of formulaic methods, too often prioritised in other disciplines. The interviews were conducted not between strangers, but as trusting exchanges between fellow anthropologists where the interviewer intervened with similarities or contrasts.

panel P07
Biography and the ethnographic interview