W114
Returning to the field: experiences and dilemmas in re-studies

Convenors:
Gunilla Bjerén (Stockholm University)
Aud Talle (University of Oslo)
Discussant:
Professor Signe Howell, University of Oslo
Format:
Workshops
Location:
5
Start time:
28 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We invite researchers who are engaged in, or preparing, re-studies to present the experiences and the dilemmas in studying change when the researchers her/himself, the theoretical stance of the discipline, and the methods we use have changed as much as the objects of study.

Long abstract:

The large anthropologist cohorts born in the 1940'ies are now reaching a time in life when returning to previously studied fields and topics might be attractive. We once made the heavy investment in learning languages and immersing ourselves in what was then strange contexts, often under considerable personal hardship. Some of us have lived with this experience as a living memory, almost as vivid today as at the time when events took place, others have kept in touch and returned for brief visits from time to time. Given the opportunity, the temptation to return to the field years or decades later is difficult to resist. What happens when we do? In the words of Clifford Geertz: "When everything changes, from the small and immediate to the vast and abstract - the object of study, the world immediately around him (sic!), and the wider world around them both - there seems to be no place to stand so as to locate just what has altered and how." (After the fact, Harvard UP, 1995, p.2). To this workshop we invite researchers who are engaged in re-studies of different kinds. Feel welcome to present results, methodological and theoretical issues and practical and personal experiences of any kind relevant to the study of change in the social and cultural world where we find our fields, and ourselves.