Silly questions


One prominent badge of fieldworkers, distinguishing them from the natives, restless or not, is their asking stupid questions. Nigel Barley, as ever, has a good illustration (The innocent anthropologist, p.41):

“What happens to a man’s powers/soul/spirit after he dies?” I tried querulously, like a vicar hoping to get a current affairs discussion going at a youth club. They ignored me. Then one young man turned round and snapped, “How should I know? Am I God?”

Among many posts on fieldwork exchanges, note Bruce Jackson’s fine exposition, and Speaking from the heart.

5 thoughts on “Silly questions

  1. Pingback: Gaoluo: a restudy, and my role | Stephen Jones: a blog

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  3. Pingback: Bruce Jackson on fieldwork | Stephen Jones: a blog

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