Capitalism and the problems of "High speed ethnographies"
Looking at my travel schedule for the next few months I'm left wondering what can I expect to learn from the relatively short amounts of time spent the field in different countries? At what point does spending a few days in a culture become nothing more than tour bus ethnography?
When I read posts like the one above, I remember being taught how the discipline of anthropology really only emerged when we gave up the colonial past-time of "armchair" anthropology and actually got out in the field ourselves.
But spending too much time analysing data outside the field might have some other implications:
When scholars were tasked with making sense of all the data brought back from the colonies, they had plenty of time to reflect on it. (In fact, I've always suspected that the sheer amount of "down" time and distance from the people studied actually encouraged anthropologists to come up with those complex hierarchies of cultural traits that became so instrumental in the administration of the colonies and the oppression of so many people. You know, idle hands and all...)