fieldwork pairs

Joseph M. O'Neal (josephon@ADMIN.STEDWARDS.EDU)
Tue, 23 May 1995 12:52:27 CDT

I have enjoyed reading the exchanges about the value of doing fieldwork with
partners. Regarding Malinowski, one need only read Annette Wiener's _Men of
Power, Women of Renown_ to discover h ow much Malinowski the male missed, but
Annette is too genteel to put it that way.

At an AAA meeting some years ago in Chicago, I heard a fascinating panel on
growing old in two cultures at once. Fieldworkers recounted how their status in
the other society changed as a result of their ageing as they returned to the same
research site decade after decade. Frequently their status went down unless they
could claim large numbers of offspring befitting status as an elder.

I would guess that there is power in teaming fieldworkers of different ages as
well as different sexes. Of course, that sort of amplification could be continued
almost infinitely. But I do think this is an often-neglected aspect of fieldwork
since most fieldworkers are y oung fulfilling the rite of passage. Older
anthropologists, like all elderly people in our society, are shunted aside,
marginalized, and largely ignored and forgotten.

Joseph M. O'Neal 512-448-8745
St. Edward's University FAX: 512-448-8767
Austin, TX 78704
"I felt that I was, in Dr. Johnson's words, assailing an unresisting
imbecility." Robertson Davies