Emotions in the Field: The Psychology and Anthropology of Fieldwork Experience

By James Davies; Dimitrina Spencer | Go to book overview
Save to active project

7

Emotional Engagements
Acknowledgement, Advocacy, and Direct Action

Lindsay Smith and Arthur Kleinman

ANTHROPOLOGISTS HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN, almost by definition, “engaged intellectuals.” Our position in the field, our production of knowledge from the ground up, our methodological imperative to live day in and day out among our research subjects for the entire duration of our studies have given our discipline a unique history of engagement among the social sciences. In an anthropological sense, engagement has often emerged from the particular relationship of intimacy with a group of people that the ethnographer develops in her time in the field. As such, anthropological engagement is not necessarily or exclusively the ethical choice of public intellectuals to align themselves with causes and struggles quite distant from the academy. Rather, for anthropologists engagement may be, and oftentimes is, born out of proximity, as the inevitable result of a long-lasting process of active involvement and witnessing—what we call “participant observation.” Whether or not, as anthropologists, we choose to become “public intellectuals” in the French tradition, whether or not we choose to share our expertise in a language accessible to a general audience, whether or not we find our informants' struggles sympathetic or repugnant, at the very core of our discipline is the inescapable intersubjective experience of ethnographic fieldwork. It is that experience that engages us, for it never allows us to imagine ourselves as simply analysts reporting data; rather we are always witnesses evoking the contested truths and troubled emotions of the local moral world with which we have become a part.

In his chapter in this volume, Ghassan Hage explores the complicated contours of political emotions, drawing out the multiple overlapping strands of personal and collective sentiments that surround political upheaval. In a

-171-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Emotions in the Field: The Psychology and Anthropology of Fieldwork Experience
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 276

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?