September 22, 2017
11:15 – 12:45
Room D0.03, main campus Bolzano-Bozen


Ethnography based on fieldwork: there is no need to either idealize or denigrate it.  First hand enquiry didn’t begin or end with Malinowski; rather he capitalized on the quality of information that prolonged exposure yielded.   Such practices required their own infrastructures of support, not least economic and governmental; initially taken for granted these subsequently became objects of study too.   Regardless of this context, however, such fieldwork seemingly encouraged study in the round – anything might be significant! -- and at a certain scale of investigation produced huge dividends.  But another dimension of ethnography also emerged.  Ethnographers came to scale-up their findings in terms of imagining the ultimate object of enquiry being ‘society’ or ‘culture’.  Did such imaginings then work as a kind of conceptual infrastructure for carrying out ethnography?  A comparison between two recent issues of a regional journal, from the area where Malinowski worked, might throw light on what kinds of object of enquiry some present-day ethnography is intended to illuminate.