Post-fieldwork: How to process what just happened.

I'm back in New York. Aside from readjusting to being in the city and the temperature difference (Asunción is the hottest capital in the western hemisphere), there is the matter of how to make sense of one's data when returning from the field. Though I know what it is that I have studied (the Paraguayan state through two of its most important twentieth century projects: Itaipú Binacional and Ciudad del Este), I'm still looking for the distillation of what my dissertation is about.

To help in this, I have started an exercise Kim Fortun, associate professor at Rensselaer in the the department of Science & Technology Studies, describes in her chapter in the new edited volume Fieldwork Is Not What It Used To Be: Learning Anthropology's Method in a Time of Transition. Every day in a journal, I write the answers to the following questions:
1) The aim of this study is...
2) Data collected through participant-observation, interviews, archives, multi-media sources were analyzed to understand continuities and changes in the ways people conceive of...
3) Preliminary findings are...
4) Theoretical and political/practical implications of these findings are...
At some point, I'll compile all of these and see how the answers have changed and developed.

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One Response to Post-fieldwork: How to process what just happened.

Sharney said...

Hey, Christine! You don't know me yet, but I am certain we shall meet soon. I am a friend of your parents. Your mom sent me a link to your blog and suggested i befriend you. I have enjoyed reading your blog so far and look forward to reading more in the future. You seem to have had quite the experience down in South America, so I hope you get some time to relax. :)

~Sharney

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