For most anthropologists there are often differences between pre-research ideas and presumptions, and the final data based on ethnography. This panel seeks to trigger a discussion on the place of off-shoots in research, and the physical and discursive boundaries of fieldwork sites in ethnography.
Ethnographic fieldwork is "a cluster of disciplinary practices through which cultural worlds are represented" (Clifford 1997:8). Recent anthropology has discovered not only novel ways of presenting its subject matter, but also new sites of research. This is how and why, anthropologists are now expected to engage with multiple forms and sites of meaning and cultural representation both during research and post-research writing-up. Increasingly, research in anthropology is moving beyond physical borders of localities or communities, similar to what Marcus and Fischer (1986) anticipated that it would be needed to conduct research on whole systems (instead of individual localities or communities). However, it is now crucial to ask how such research could be made possible and reduced to text. In this panel, participants are expected to provide firsthand insight on how and why anthropologists explore, experiment and improvise during their ethnographic research. Papers should primarily address how off-shoots in research can come to introduce new perspectives and dimensions to researchers in the field of anthropology. Papers discussing how initially unexpected practical changes in the research plan add up to ethnographic data are especially welcome. Participants are encouraged to speculate on the complex relationships between research agendas, initial research ideas, boundaries of research sites, mobility of informants, complexities of representation and the data collected. It is in this sense that papers are also expected to elaborate on the effects of writing-up as a creative process on the final ethnographic data.