Accepted Paper:

Apprenticeship among Mande Hunters' Musicians  
Theodore Konkouris (University of Macedonia)

Paper short abstract:

Based on eighteen months apprenticeship under a master hunters' musician in Mali, this paper considers the implications when ethnographers take a radically participating stance towards the realities they study and use their body as a research tool to access the lifeworlds of others.

Paper long abstract:

In Mali, West Africa, hunters form secret societies which hold regular ceremonies that can be either public events, or private and sacred. Musical performance is central to all hunters' events. Performances are often recorded and released as cassettes, or otherwise transmitted through specialised hunters' radio shows. In song, a hunters' master musician, accompanied by his apprentices, calls hunters to dance. He challenges powerful hunters to step out of the audience and demands from them his share of the hunt. While doing so, he moves around the performance site, dancing and singing the praises of hunter-heroes.

Based on eighteen months apprenticeship under a master hunters' musician, this paper considers the implications when ethnographers take a radically participating stance towards the realities they study and use their body as a research tool to access the lifeworlds of others. I ask how and what can practice-based apprenticeship teach us about the persons and places we study? How can the bonds of master-apprentice transform anthropological inquiry and lead to more collaborative research? I explore these problematics that arise in direct-apprenticeship experience dynamics. I draw upon the literature on intersubjectivity (Jackson 1998), apprenticeship (Stoller 1989, Wacquant 2004), perception and body movement (Merleau-Ponty 1962) to comment upon the value of knowledge produced through interaction and participation; through discourse but also enskilment (Ingold 2000). Finally, I show how intersubjective encounters and close relationships between researcher and research participants can be useful tools for experiential research, underlining the embodied nature of ethnographic experience.

Panel P070
Apprenticeship: Illuminating Persons and Places through Shared Practice and Performance