Accepted Paper:

The extended case for method  


Peter Pels (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

Anthropologists neglect methodical language because they too often think of method as a positivist heritage. We should extend our conception of method to cover research into what anthropologists are particularly good at: the mutual recognition of values-in-practice.

Paper long abstract:

For a considerable period, "method" was either a well-kept secret or a dirty word in anthropology. This is detrimental to the anthropological position in the marketplaces of funding and public service. This paper suggests what a non-positivist conception of method could look like - one that incorporates research demands (such as ethics and expertise) that are discursively similar to method, and that also incorporates themes structurally in tension with method (such as history, reflexivity). I argue that time and process, contrary to what many anti-positivists argued, are not inimical to method.

Panel W097
New vocabularies of method: experts, ethics and the mutuality of ethnographic fieldwork