Accepted Paper:

Ethnography matters: multisited research, cultural hierarchies and their ethnographic methods  


Alexandru Balasescu (Royal Roads University, Victoria, Canada)

Paper short abstract:

This proposed paper is based on a 2 year research that took place in Paris and Tehran. The paper explores the (un)intended consequences of both the disciplinary organization of the field of anthropology, and the objects implied in the process of ethnographic research.

Paper long abstract:

The presentation will tackle with two aspects of capital importance in anthropological research: the formation, and the position of the ethnographic subject within the discipline of anthropology. I chose the following working definition of discipline: "methods which made possible the meticulous control of the operations of the body, which assured a constant subjection of its forces and imposed upon them a relation of docility-utility" (Foucault 1979:137)

The ethnographic subject (the argument has it) is informed by global dynamics although it appears to be an independent emergence within the field of anthropology. In its construction, the subject reveals thinly veiled cultural hierarchies that underscore the structure of the discipline itself. The choice of the subject and the possibility of following it are pre-inscribed in power relations from which national origins and institutional positions are not strange.

The ethnographer him/herself is produced within this field of forces, with the unmediated contribution of the ethnographic tools and methods. The encounter between the ethnographer and her/his interlocuteurs (interlocked in the ethnographic relation) is mediated by the under-researched objects of ethnography (from the writing pen to the passport). The objects constructs the ethnographer as such, and the ethnographic relation.

These two aspects of ethnography and their material expression are the focus of this presentation.

Panel IW05
Local encounters with the global: diversity of anthropological fieldwork approaches in globalization studies