What are you really doing here? Suspicion and the politics of ethnography

José Mapril (Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Virtudes Téllez Delgado (University of Castilla La Mancha)
João de Pina Cabral
Arts Classhall E
Start time:
26 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:


One of the frequent issues with which Anthropologists are faced in their field experience is suspicion and mistrust. These, of course, have a pervasive effect on our ethnographic accounts. On one hand, they condition the way our interlocutors address us and relate to our inquiries, and on the other, it implies regimes of surveillance practiced upon our field-research and writings. During fieldwork, this suspicion might disappear at least for some of our interlocutors. However, it can persist or sometimes it is even reinforced when "they read what we write" or simply under the influence of international events related with the political context of fieldwork. In doing so, intersubjectivity becomes hard not to say virtually impossible. In spite of this, one rarely finds reflexive exercises about such issues in anthropological accounts. Thus, the main objective of this workshop is to explore the relation between suspicion and fieldwork and how it reveals the political and ethical dimensions of ethnography. The papers in this workshop are invited to explore these questions that are crucial for contemporary ethnographic and anthropological research.