Layers of fieldwork

SLY map - Version 2

Map of Upper Liangyuan village, Li Manshan 2012, showing former temples and the houses of Daoists.

As you may notice in my series of reports on local ritual, fieldwork often oscillates between various geographical levels, all mutually beneficial—zooming in with thick description, or out to sketch the wider picture.

Dong Xiaoping reflected on this issue in a thoughtful review of field reports on west Fujian (in Overmyer, Ethnography in China today, pp.347–50), commenting again on the old “unity and diversity” theme in Chinese culture.

We need a balance between “making a base” (dundian) and “surveys” (pucha). My two detailed long-term projects on Gaoluo village and the Li family Daoists have both benefitted from surveys of the wider regional culture of which they are part.

Thus, in my writings as in the wider literature, one can find studies of

My posts on local ritual illustrate all this with many maps. The more we zoom in, the more satisfying the results; but the broader picture is necessary too.

4 thoughts on “Layers of fieldwork

  1. Pingback: A 1956 fieldtrip to Hunan | Stephen Jones: a blog

  2. Pingback: Fujian, 1961 and onwards | Stephen Jones: a blog

  3. Pingback: Italy: folk musicking | Stephen Jones: a blog

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