Accepted paper:

When the ethnographer starts experiencing inadequacy of/on fieldwork

Author:

Isabelle Rivoal (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

Based on a long-term field research in Lebanon, this paper will explore the insidious process of experiencing a growing sense of inadequacy while doing fieldwork, up to the moment when the ethnographer starts considering her uneasiness in terms of inadequacy.This experience is the background for a more theoretical appraisal of the “traditional Malinoskian paradigm” recently discussed by Faubion and Marcus (2011). A discussion I would like to engage.

Paper long abstract:

My presentation will explore the insidious process of experiencing a growing sense of inadequacy while doing fieldwork, up to the moment when the ethnographer starts considering her uneasiness in terms of inadequacy. This acknowledgement bears strong theoretical implications. My reflection stems from my long-lengh fieldwork in the Lebanese region of the Shuf mountains. I am aiming to describe a traditional feudal leadership - the one of the Junblat family - and its expanding on the communal - Druze - and regional - Shuf - level in the context of the post-war Lebanese society. I will records the various disconnections between the experienced field work and the expectation for some coherence out of data as a pre-condition for the classic anthropological narrative which have progressively enhanced my uneasiness: (1) I will address the question of scale and scaling in doing research in Lebanon where the local, communal, regional and international levels are all specific level if not historical entities and a complex web of intertwined networks and actors playing shifting parts; (2) I will address the problem of the rapid obsolescence of data while inquiring a place where politics is the fabric of everyday life. This experience of the inadequacy of the way I was dealing on one particular is the background for a more theoretical appraisal of the "traditional Malinoskian paradigm" recently discussed by Faubion and Marcus (2011). A discussion which I would like to engage.

panel W112
What happens when we stop believing in/believing that?