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The Shadow Side of Fieldwork: Exploring the Blurred Borders between Ethnography and Life

Athena McLean (Editor), Annette Leibing (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-6130-5
328 pages
August 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
The Shadow Side of Fieldwork: Exploring the Blurred Borders between Ethnography and Life (1405161302) cover image
The Shadow Side of Fieldwork draws attention to the typically hidden or unacknowledged aspects of ethnographic fieldwork encounters that nevertheless shape the resulting knowledge and texts. Addressing these invisible, elusive, unspoken or mysterious elements introduces a distinctive rigor and responsibility to ethnographic research.

* Luminaries in anthropology dare to explore the 'unspeakable' and 'invisible' in the ethnographic encounter

* Considers personal and professional challenges (ethical, epistemological, and political) faced by researchers who examine the subjectivities inherent in their ethnographic insights

* Explores the value, and limitations, of addressing the personal in ethnographic research

* Includes a critical discussion of the anthropologist's self in the field

* Introduces imaginative rigor to ethnographic research to heighten confidence in anthropological knowledge
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Introduction.

Part I: Secrecy and Silence in the Ethnographic Encounter.

Part II: Transmutations of Experience: Approaching the Reality of Shadows.

Part III: Epistemic Shadows.

Part IV: The Politics of Ethnographic Encounter: Negotiating Power in the Shadow.

Part V: Blurred Borders in the Ethnographic Encounter of Self and Other.

Index
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Athena McLean is Professor of Anthropology at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Central Michigan University. Dr. McLean's research has focused on processes of knowledge production and contestation in the areas of aging and psychiatry. She has particular interests in dementia care and advocacy movements in mental health and aging. Her writings include 'Contradictions in the Social Production of Clinical Knowledge: The Case of Schizophrenia', in Social Science and Medicine (1990), and The Person in Dementia: A Study of Nursing Home Care in the U.S. (2007).

Annette Leibing is an anthropologist with research interests in psychiatry, aging (especially Alzheimer), medications, and new medical technologies (such as stem cells). She has taught anthropology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and been a visiting professor in Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University (2002-05). She is Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of Montreal. Her latest book, co-edited with Lawrence Cohen, is Thinking about Dementia: Culture, Loss, and the Anthropology of Senility (2006).
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  • Luminaries in anthropology dare to explore the 'unspeakable' and 'invisible' in the ethnographic encounter
  • Considers personal and professional challenges (ethical, epistemological, and political) faced by researchers who examine the subjectivities inherent in their ethnographic insights
  • Explores the value, and limitations, of addressing the personal in ethnographic research
  • Includes a critical discussion of the anthropologist’s self in the field
  • Introduces imaginative rigor to ethnographic research to heighten confidence in anthropological knowledge
See More
"Important and invaluable ... .This book brings that totality out of the shadows and into the light. It is written in an accessible manner and should inform teaching of research methods at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level, being a core text in the latter. It should be a companion guide to us all." (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, September 2009)

"There are some fabulous papers in here: thought provoking, stimulating, well-written, clever papers." (Anthropological Forum, July 2009)

"Eye opening, provocative, and politically charged, this timely volume will change the ways you think about objects of knowledge and the means and ethics of knowing."
João Biehl, Princeton University

"With a multi-faceted play on the concept of shadow, these fine essays together redeem and clarify the so-called reflexive turn in anthropology, showing how the deeply personal in fieldwork is integral to the kind of quirky curiosity on which ethnographic knowledge so distinctively depends."
George Marcus, University of California, Irvine

"With uncommon candor, the remarkable ethnographers of The Shadow Side of Fieldwork interrogate some of the most pressing ethical and theoretical issues of writing culture in the present moment. Their often moving accounts of close encounters with themselves in their fieldwork contexts, and their understanding of how these encounters shape anthropology’s project of ethical connection with persons and worlds beyond, and within, our own, invites the discipline into new realms of inquiry, and excites deeper engagement with the paradoxes and anxieties of intersubjective research. A remarkable undertaking, all told."
Debbora Battaglia, Mount Holyoke College

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