Wolfgang "Anthronaut" Wohlwend has returned from his two month fieldwork in a warehouse in Istanbul. He summarizes some of his experience with short-time fieldwork and gives us the advice: "Start at the general and go into the specific!":
Two months are a very short period of time. The first half of this period I spent on becoming acclimatized to either climate, language and culture which numbed my senses to a big extent. When my senses awoke again in the remaining two weeks in the warehouse and another two weeks travelling in Turkey were simply not enough to build up anything sensible.
What I was doing - participatory observation in a small scale enterprise - over two months can in my opinion only be succesful, when one knows the "bigger context", i.e. the cultural frameworks, from general to specific, where the people working there move in.
On my small trip around Turkey, I had the impression, that I gathered much more insights and observations than in all the six weeks before. So I conclude, that one should do it exactly the other way round - Get to know the culture, then study the enterprise. Start at the general and go into the specific.
PS: Strangely enough I haven't mentioned this blog earlier here (it has been part of the anthro-newspaper for a while, though), I really enjoyed following his fieldwork, many well written posts!