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Birthing the anthropologist : first fieldwork in West New Britain

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Birthing the anthropologist : first fieldwork in West New Britain

Ingerman, Judith Ellen (2005) Birthing the anthropologist : first fieldwork in West New Britain. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Going to the field to conduct research has a long tradition of being one of the critical professional markers that distinguishes anthropology from other areas in the social sciences. 'Writing up' the field experience--often months or years after the event--has tended to subsume the process of 'doing' fieldwork, perpetuating an allure of mystique surrounding how fieldworkers are able to attain their data when it is based upon relational interactions. This thesis is a study of the process of moving through the field to gain both an insight into the Bariai of West New Britain, Papua New Guinea and to reflexively analyze the methodology used to navigate the liminal space of first fieldwork. I argue that first fieldwork serves to birth not only information and knowledge of the field but serves also as the birthing process for the transformation of student to anthropologist. This journey itself may lack a sense of authority required for the later writing up of the findings and therefore, similar to birthing, may also share a need for privileging certain memories and leaving others in the recesses of the mind or the creases of the field note. This thesis demonstrates that the experiential trials and tribulations associated with first fieldwork can be incorporated and enrich the authorial voice required to complete the gauntlet of becoming a true anthropologist.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Ingerman, Judith Ellen
Pagination:vi, 136 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Cole, Sally
ID Code:8423
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:25
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:25
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