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The name of my blog is a sort of homage to the field diary that inspired me to start blogging: Jon Henrik among the Ifugaos. Lorenz, my Webmaster and the editor of www.antropologi.info, asked me ages ago to write a few words on why I decided to write a blog from my fieldwork. In fact, the answer isn’t as well-considered as Lorenz, a dedicated net publicist, might have thought. I just thought that what Jon Henrik had done was such a cool thing to do: It was nice to see what he was doing among the Ifuagos. However, after I started I have noticed that blogging sharpens the attention, just like taking a lot of photos (and probably painting) does; One starts to see motifs everywhere, and then one has to reflect on how to make the motif into a story so other people can understand what you want to tell them.
This brings me to a question some people have asked me; is your blog your fieldnotes? No, my notes don’t look like my blog at all. My fieldnotes are very sketchy and cover a vast array of themes, and they’re not at all as coherent and focused as I try to make the posts in the blog. The texts here can perhaps be described as somewhere between fieldnotes and academic texts in terms of stringency, but not in terms of analysis. My posts are meant to be descriptive rather than analytic. (I’m not in that phase on the project yet.) The idea is to describe the process of discovery that I’m going through during my stay here. This includes ethnographic discovery, as well as day-do-day theoretical and methodological reflections. It made me happy to hear a friend of mine say that she found my reflections on the fieldwork situation and research process helpful. Nothing is better than students or others being inspired or learning something from what I write.
After I started blogging, I’ve become aware that there is a whole world of bloggers out there (for instance, one in ten Frenchpersons have their own blog!) Certainly, this must have a chaotic and anarchic democratising effect on public communication. And I can imagine that there must be yet undiscovered effects on individual reflection and social integration as well, (just like the diary had in its time, and text-messages and e-mails have now). For an anthropologist, this has theoretical implications as well as interesting methodological possibilities. - I hope some native Parisians sooner or later would talk back to me on my blog, but I guess they’re so busy blogging themselves, that they haven’t got the time to read other people’s blogs…
That was my blog, now on to my project. But since this post is long enough, the middle part of the presentation will have wait for later. The only thing I want to reveal for now is that its working title is Communities in the making: Identity and belonging in postcolonial Paris and London.
I really enjoyed this post, particularly that section where you wrote on the way that blogging sharpens the attention … it’s so true.
I hope you don’t mind, but I quoted you and made a link back to your site.
Good luck with your research.
Thanks for your nice comment and for making a link to your blog (which I enjoyed reading!)
I must admit, I have been dipping into the art of blogging for a while now. Most of my writing had been devoted to music or cinema and I had only authored a handful of substantive posts.
Reading your blog, specifically your comment about sharpening the attention, made me wish to get into blogging more seriously. I started my new blog just a few days ago and I already feel revitalized. It truly is a unique way in which to force oneself to think about the world.
I myself am hoping to pursue graduate work in anthropology (particularly visual anthropology) in the future. I can see how blogging would strongly benefit one’s own observational fieldwork.
Thanks for the inspiration. I look forward to hopefully seeing something come of your fieldwork in the future.
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