Rethinking world anthropologies through fieldwork: Perspectives on “extended stay” and “back-and-forth” methodologies
Keywords:ethnography, fieldwork, world anthropologies, activist traditions
In this article, we explore the grounds on which world anthropologies can be differentiated and how this can be discussed without reproducing the internal hierarchies of a discipline that has at least four names (social anthropology, cultural anthropology, ethnology, ethnography). We suggest that ethnographic research (rather than national intellectual traditions) can be used as the criterion to differentiate between world anthropologies. In doing so, we discuss whether the production of anthropological knowledge is affected by the model of ethnographic fieldwork employed, by focusing on two methodologies: the “extended stay” model and the “back-and-forth” model. We also consider how methodologies may be discussed, given that the extended stay and back-and-forth fieldwork designs exist within anthropological-ethnological communities in unequal power positions. On the basis of an anthropological conference, Anthropology Otherwise, organised in Valjevo, Serbia, in 2011, which used consensus-based decision making as an organisational technique, we suggest that encounters of people who practice ethnography in various ways may unsettle existing hierarchies within the discipline if organised through experimental academic conference formats.