Teaching and learning ethnography in Southeastern Europe: making sense of a complex world and providing expertise for professional careers
Ioannis Manos (University of Macedonia)
Paper short abstract:
The paper reflects on teaching experiences in various academic and non-academic contexts and discusses the practices employed, the educational objectives set and the challenges and dilemmas dealt with when teaching ethnography in a Greek/Southeast European academic context
Paper long abstract:
When teaching ethnography and talking about anthropology in the Greek universities, we try to make students familiar with the study of otherness and introduce them to alternative ways of understanding social phenomena. Yet, we deal with perceptions of cultural difference shaped by notions of cultural homogeneity. Moreover, our students have never heard of anthropology before, and according to a prevailing mindset they probably do not even need Anthropology for their academic and professional careers, let alone pursuing a job as anthropologists. How can we demonstrate ethnography's potentials in studying diversity and understanding social reality? And then show its utility in making a living from it? These considerations require a revisiting of the teaching process for a better understanding of the discipline and its method. If ethnography is regarded as the fundamental mode of production of anthropological knowledge, its teaching can be carried out both in the classroom and through the conduct of intensive short-term research projects. This concept of the experiential learning of ethnography seeks to combine theory with practice. It connects the knowledge presented in the classroom with the lived experience in the 'field'. This approach activates the personal experiences of the participating students in order to push them to a reflective consideration of their own mode of perceiving reality. The paper reflects on teaching experiences in various academic and non-academic contexts and discusses the practices employed, the educational objectives set and the challenges and dilemmas dealt with when teaching ethnography in a Greek/Southeast European academic context.
Teaching ethnography as method: legacies and future practices [TAN]