More on fieldwork

Further to my remarks on the illusion of “becoming at one with the masses”, I’m always struck by the irony of hanging out with Chinese peasants whose whole life-experience and world-view are totally different from my own. That’s commonly the kind of thing that ethnographers do, of course.

“Stranger value” would be most unlikely to butter any parsnips if a middle-aged English academic were to descend on a bunch of Newcastle punks (cf. my post on vocabulary). They would quite rightly tell me to get lost—although possibly not in those precise words. Chinese peasants are more hospitable.

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