This panel invites discussions around what the fields we "return to" entail in terms of the fieldwork experience and as a parenthesis in the construction and emergence of our field. We are interested in enhancing methodological reflexivity, the comparative gesture, as well as empirical analysis.
The past decades have seen a range of methodological advances that critically reflect on the question of where and what the field of urban anthropology can be. Yet, the implementation of a more relational or comparative perspective in the study of geographically faraway places remains a practical challenge.
Firstly, this panel seeks to do to space what Fabian has done to time in anthropological work - to reimagine the distance between "home" and "field." While many have been attentive to this problem, we still need to frame a concept that can induce reflexivity about the spatiality of the scenario that unfolds "in between fieldwork" (in its myriad meanings). Through this panel and roundtable discussion, we are interested in discussing how this in between can be conceptualized and what it does to the anthropologist's positionality, inter-subjectivity, field findings, and understandings of "being there".
Secondly, we seek to expand notions of the anthropologist's ways of "being there." Sensitivity to tracking local and global changes should make anthropologists think differently about their fieldwork strategies. Where is the field when we track it from afar (i.e. through social media), follow informants elsewhere, think the field through an elsewhere, make it home, or when the field is home? The co-conveners' own experiences of studying their urban fields from institutions foreign to their own homes have served to inspire this problematization. We invite contributions from researchers who have also reflected on or are interested in thinking their field through these spaces.
Myfanwy James (University of Oxford)
Lotte Nielsen (Basel University)
Guilherme Fians (University of Manchester)