What Was the Point of Fieldwork? What Is the Point of Fieldwork?

Topics: Anthropology, Marcel Griaule, Participant observation Pages: 3 (835 words) Published: March 1, 2013
What was the point of fieldwork? What is the point of fieldwork? Fieldwork enables an anthropologist to immerse themselves into a particular culture by living and participating in their society for an intensive amount of time. The process is therefore long-term to the extent where the fieldworker often stays with the particular group of people for a consecutive number of months, or even up to a matter of years. Direct observation is significant since the research collected (that is, what one sees, hears, rituals and certain beliefs) later becomes the basis of further research once the fieldwork has been completed. "Living in the village with no other business but to follow native life, one sees the customs, ceremonies and transactions over and over again, one has examples of their beliefs as they are actually lived through.” [Malinowski, p. 18] Malinowski states how important it is to live amongst the villagers when conducting fieldwork. When reading ‘Argonauts of the Western Pacific’, fieldwork is expressed effectively. However, in order to get full use from the method, one must learn, or know the basis of the language by which they are going to be surrounded. MacClancy stated, that he was once advised to travel alone when carrying out a fieldwork investigation. The result of this being that you do not speak English and therefore fully immerse yourself into the language and culture of those around you, increasing the understanding of their way of life. It is stated that reading literature from other societies would also be necessary to expand one’s understanding before carrying out the fieldwork itself. [Eriksen] The majority of authors illustrated fieldwork as being an effective way of gathering information. However, it became obvious (nevertheless understandable) that among the different ways in which fieldwork can be approached, certain methods turn out to be more successful than others. This can be due to a number of different factors - some being reasons...
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