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Social Anthropology

Comparing fieldsites in anthropology and behavioural ecology


"The fieldsite as device": An article published as part of a special issue of the Journal of Cultural Economy entitled 'The social life of methods', edited by Evelyn Ruppert and John Law.

This paper explores fieldsites as devices, in the sense, given in the introduction to this special issue, of ‘patterned teleological arrangements’. Drawing on a discussion of my own ethnographic fieldwork with field behavioral ecologists, the article seeks to parse the insights of two literatures, namely the emergent interest in scientific fieldwork in STS and history of science, and the long-standing discussion of ethnographic fieldwork within sociocultural anthropology. Insofar as my ethnographic fieldsite is also to their biological fieldsite, this not just a straight ‘comparison’ of methodological devices, but also an account of how two differently configured devices come to interface, and where and to what extent they differ.

Download the preprint here

read the published version here