In a volume I recently co-edited with John Borneman, we insisted on the importance of conducting long-term, longitudinal fieldwork involving deep interlocution with the people with whom we work. We saw this as one way of redefining the task of our discipline after years of deconstruction and ‘writing experiments’. As a sequel to that effort, I have been reflecting on my position as an anthropologist who has conducted most of his fieldwork in his own country and written extensively about his own society. This type of research has been variously referred to as ‘anthropology at home’, ‘auto-anthropology’ or, most recently, ‘endo-anthropology’. Examining the practices involved in my own ‘anthropology at home’, I want to reflect on the following questions: What does it mean and what does it take to do the anthropology of one’s own culture and society? What sort of experience and added value does it bring to the discipline? And what transformations can it bring to the practice of anthropology at large? Invoking the notion of the ‘trouble of alterity’, I reconsider the classic concept of alterity in order to speculate on the possible venues an ‘anthropology at home’ might be able to open up.
Source: MPI for Social Anthropology (20 January 2017)