Fieldwork in Timor-Leste: Understanding Social Change Through Practice

Maj Nygaard-Christensen, Angie Bexley

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Why write a regionally defined volume on fieldwork? Anthropological studies have long moved away from spatial understandings of the field (Coleman and Collins 2006; Dalsgaard 2013; Olwig and Hastrup 1997); and away from understandings of the field as a ‘site’ waiting to be discovered by the ethnographer (Amit 2000: 6; Candea 2007: 172). We think, however, that these attempts to de-objectify ‘the field’ can usefully be incorporated in our understandings of field-based research in independent Timor-Leste. For if the tendency in anthropology and area studies has been to move away from associations between ‘the field’ and bounded communities, political processes in Timor-Leste have been marked by attempts to demarcate the boundaries of, and to define the place, that would become ‘Timor-Leste’. Or put differently, while anthropological debates have abandoned ‘the common sense idea that such things as locality and community are simply given or natural’ and instead turned ‘toward a focus on social and political processes of place making’ (Gupta and Ferguson 1997: 6), such processes in TimorLeste have often revolved around making essentialist claims about what constitutes Timorese national identity. The chapters in this volume go to the heart of this tension
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCopenhagen
    PublisherNIAS Press
    Number of pages280
    ISBN (Print)978-87-7694-208-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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