Reimagining the self and the field in contemporary ethnography: insights from living and researching within and through borders

Yuki Imoto (Keio University)
Tomoko Tokunaga (International Christian University)
Prof. Gregory Poole, Prof. William Beeman (University of Michigan)
Start time:
16 May, 2014 at 13:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel will discuss the meaning and process of self-reflexivity, through utilizing the concept of 'borders'. It brings together papers that explore approaches such as auto/native/team/feminist/multi-sited ethnography, to engage in the critiques and possible futures of postmodern methods.

Long abstract:

This panel discusses self-reflexivity both as method and as a topic of inquiry. It invites papers that explore approaches such as autoethnography, collaborative/team ethnography, multi-sited ethnography, feminist ethnography, and native ethnography to actively engage in the critiques and possible (or impossible?) futures of postmodern methods. We aim for refinement of concepts such as field, self, and ethnographic writing itself, and for dialogue with ideas from contexts other than the Western/postcolonial anthropological vernacular. In discussing self-reflexivity, we employ the notion of 'border' as a conceptual tool. The border concept interrogates notions of 'here' or 'there', self or other, native or foreign, researcher or researched, and constructs terrains that go beyond these binaries. When assuming 'border' to be 'a psychic, social and cultural terrain that we inhabit, and that inhabits all of us' (Anzaldúa, 1987), self-reflexivity ceases to be mere politicized confession or navel-gazing. Rather, for those who inhabit borders, reflexivity becomes existence/identity/perception itself. How do researchers understand multiple identity borders between self and other, and how do they navigate 'ambiguous insider/outsider positions' (Kondo, 1990)? How can we make sense of 'culture' through inhabiting borders? We invite papers that incorporate border concepts, whether of identity, language, the body, geographical or intellectual space, for a more nuanced understanding of self-reflexivity in postmodern research.