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Fear in the field
Fear in the field

Author(s): Frank A. Salamone
Subject(s): Human Geography, Studies of Literature, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: fieldwork; fear; anthropologist
Summary/Abstract: There are many works of fieldwork in anthropology. It is generally acknowledged as the major rite of passage for cultural and social anthropologists, a way to somehow feel and think like the indigenous people whom we study and whose stories we relate. It is the royal road to understanding others, comparable to Freud’s use of dreams as the royal road to the unconscious. These repressed thoughts, feelings, and wishes may never be made public or acknowledged even to one’s self. In fact, only after delving into the field notes of many anthropologists and discussing the issue with others, did I slowly come to realize the effect of the field work ideal on an individual anthropologist – the heroic anthropologist. I wish to focus here on but one aspect of the ideal model, namely, fear in all its form, from the physical fear of danger down to the fear of failure, of inadequacy. A search of writings on fieldwork, of cmethods or of similar works shows very little, if any mention of fear. The myth of the heroic anthropologist bravely going in search of truth and adventure still casts its spell on people.

  • Page Range: 109-129
  • Page Count: 21
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: English