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Improvising theory : process and temporality in ethnographic fieldwork

Author: Allaine Cerwonka; Liisa H Malkki
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Scholars have long recognized that ethnographic method is bound up with the construction of theory in ways that are difficult to teach. The reason, Allaine Cerwonka and Liisa H. Malkki argue, is that ethnographic theorization is essentially improvisatory in nature, conducted in real time and in necessarily unpredictable social situations. In a unique account of, and critical reflection on, the process of theoretical  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Records and correspondence
Correspondence
Named Person: Allaine Cerwonka; Liisa H Malkki; Allaine Cerwonka; Liisa H Malkki; Allaine Cerwonka; Liisa H Malkki
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Allaine Cerwonka; Liisa H Malkki
ISBN: 9780226100302 0226100308 9780226100319 0226100316
OCLC Number: 75390043
Description: xi, 203 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Nervous conditions : the stakes in interdisciplinary research / Allaine Cerwonka --
The Fulbright proposal --
Fieldwork correspondence / Allaine Cerwonka, Liisa Malkki --
Tradition and improvisation in ethnographic field research / Liisa Malkki.
Responsibility: Allaine Cerwonka and Liisa H. Malkki.

Abstract:

Scholars have long recognized that ethnographic method is bound up with the construction of theory in ways that are difficult to teach. The reason, Allaine Cerwonka and Liisa H. Malkki argue, is that ethnographic theorization is essentially improvisatory in nature, conducted in real time and in necessarily unpredictable social situations. In a unique account of, and critical reflection on, the process of theoretical improvisation in ethnographic research, they demonstrate how both objects of analysis, and our ways of knowing and explaining them, are created and discovered in the give and take of real life, in all its unpredictability and immediacy. Improvising Theory centers on the year-long correspondence between Cerwonka, then a graduate student in political science conducting research in Australia, and her anthropologist mentor, Malkki. Through regular e-mail exchanges, Malkki attempted to teach Cerwonka, then new to the discipline, the basic tools and subtle intuition needed for anthropological fieldwork. The result is a strikingly original dissection of the processual ethics and politics of method in ethnography.

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