By C. W. Watson
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Extra resources for Being there : fieldwork in anthropology
Foucault, Michel (1991) ‘Governmentality’ in G. Burchell et al. (eds) The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Fox, Richard (1991) ‘Introduction: Working in the Present’, in Fox R. ) Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present, Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press/University of Washington Press, pp. 1–16. Geertz, Clifford (1973) The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books. Geertz, Clifford (1973a) ‘Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight’, in Geertz (1973).
Fieldwork training was therefore largely a DIY job. One of my MA papers was an ethnographic study of the local Labour Party. This involved five months’ fieldwork looking at cliques, factions and informal groupings in a local ward of the Kemptown constituency Labour Party which, as I was to discover, was dominated by the Trotskyist Militant Tendency. Taking on the role of ‘ever-available, naive anthropologist’, I ended up being ‘recruited’ into the Militant Tendency – and being invited to attend covert caucusing meetings, ostensibly billed as ‘Marxism Reading Groups’.
As a result I gained ‘trust’ from my communist informants (and later friends), but I had burnt my boats 38 Being There with the Catholics. What I’d read about the Catholic/communist division in Italian society being merely superficial was simply untrue: maybe in small towns and villages or among casual supporters, but in this city they represented two very different cultures and lived in utterly different conceptual universes (what one Italian sociologist called ‘il mondo cattolico e il mondo comunista’).
Being there : fieldwork in anthropology by C. W. Watson