Instructions for the sessions

These are instructions which could be helpful in preparations for the workshop. Descriptions of lectures and small discussions groups will follow shortly! 

Session: Thinking through the particularities of different research methods

Čarna Brković

In this session, we will focus on delineation of specifics of the two approaches to fieldwork, which we will call ‘back and forth’ and ‘immersion’. We will try to see what they entail. The session will consist of three parts. In the first part, we will present our thoughts and experiences on the following topics:

1.      In what way is (physical) movement of an ethnographer involved in the two methods? Does the back&forth have to involve movement between two places of living? Does the immersion mean a lack of movement? If there is (physical) movement present in both approaches, in what way are they different?

1a) In what way is back and forth different from multisited ethnography?

2.      Since in tradition of eastern European ethnologies, back&forth fieldwork often involved a group of researchers travelling together, we will also discuss the ‘solitude’ of ethnographic fieldwork. Where in their ethnographic research can a team of researchers place points of collaboration and where points of individual work?

3.      Can we address the same research questions with both approaches? Or are there certain questions which only one approach can address? Is ethnographic knowledge produced in one way different from ethnographic knowledge produced in another way?

Each person should prepare a 8-10 minutes presentation about some of the abovementioned issues. Towards the end of the first part, we will draw out points which have been addressed the most often, and these will serve as the bases for discussion in the second part.

The goal of the session is to articulate the characteristics of a) the immersion and b) the back and forth, and to decide whether there is a clear difference between:
-          the two approaches;
-          the knowledge produced through each approach.

The third part of the session will involve a consensus-based process of making such a decision.

Note: We should be aware of the historical circumstances and traditions in which the two approaches have been formulated and practiced. However, starting assumption is that nativity/non-nativity is not a necessary requirement for practicing either approach. In other words, while preparing the presentations, it could be useful to think in terms of: what should each one of us do today to be able to use ‘immersion’, or ‘back and forth’ approach?


Sozan, Michael. 1973. The History of Hungarian Ethnography. PhD thesis, Syracuse University, 1-19
Marcus, George. Oakley, Judith. 2007. ‘How short can fieldwork be?’ Debate Section. Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 15 (3), 353-367
Hedesan Otilia. 2009. Doing Fieldwork in Communist Romania. Mihailescu, V. Iliev, I. Naumovic, S. (eds.) Studying Peoples in the People’s Democracies II: Socialist Era Anthropology in South-East Europe. Lit Verlag. 21-39

Session: How can we rethink the oldies (old ethnograhies) from the region?

Marina Simić

In this session we will discuss ethnographic traditions of/from the region. We will try to place them in a wider context of the history of the disicpline compering them with contemporary studies done in the region and contemporary anthropological trends more broadly. We will focus on the level of empirical detail uncovered in many 'classic' ethnographic studies which is unparalleled compared with more contemporary anthropology. However, much of the details classical ethnographic studies uncovered fed directly into political processes which have been heavily criticised over the past forty years. The session will consist of three parts. In the first part, we will try to answer the following questions:

What value do such classical ethnographies have today?

Is a high level of empirical detail to be valued?  If so, can we 'save' such works from the nefarious uses to which they may have been put?

How we can connect classical studies from the region with other classical studies from the same period from different regions?

How can we connect the classical studies from the region with the studies done after the fall of socialism?

The aim of the session is to rethink old ethnographies of the region in the light of both contemporary theoretical trends and recent studies in the region. Each person should prepare a 8-10 minutes presentation concerning these issues (please bring prepared material for discussion regarding the questions) and we will generate a list of key themes for discussion, based around the above questions. At the end of the first part, we will draw out points which have been addressed the most often, and these will serve as the bases for discussion in the second part. In the third part we will then tackle the issues raised in the discussion trying to answer them or clarify the points of disagreements though the consensus-based discussion process.  


Chris Hann et al. 2007. Anthropology’s Multiple Temporalities and its Future in Central and Eastern Europe. A Debate. Halle / Saale. Working Paper No. 90. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers

Naumović Slobodan. 1998. Romanticists or Double Insiders? An Essay on the Origins of Ideologised Discourses In Balkan Ethnology. Ethnologia Balkanica 2, 101-120

Session: Field Guide

Andrew Hodges

This session will entail a discussion of all kinds of fieldwork experiences in the region. For the purposes of this session, the region specifically refers to the post Yugoslav states. However, there will be other fieldsites that have points of commonality (such as geopolitical positioning, or being referred to as 'Balkan' for example), meaning that the contributions of people working on other regions will be useful in pointing our commonalities or other context to think against. However, fieldwork in the post Yugoslav states will serve as a focus point for discussion. At the start of the session, participants will be asked where they conducted research (or where they plan to). Irrespective of where you conducted research, please bring approximately 2 A4 sheets with prepared material for discussion engaging with the following questions (roughly half a side of A4 per question, in note form):

1.      Briefly detail your background and aspects of your positioning which opened gateways or closed off particular lines of inquiry.
2.      What difficulties did you have doing fieldwork?
3.      What difficulties did your status as 'insider'/'outsider' present? Is it worth retaining this distinction?
4.      Did the post-conflict context present specific difficulties in doing ethnographic fieldwork? (n.b. This question is just for those who worked in the post Yugoslav states)

The aim of the session is to produce a 'field guide' where, through discussion in small groups, we aim to reach consensus (i.e. find 'common ground') on what difficulties researchers setting out to do fieldwork in the region may expect to come across, and whether there is any action that can be taken to either overcome those difficulties or if not, to at least protect the researcher and the people alongside whom she works as much as is possible. We will start off with short presentations discussing our background and positioning, and we will generate a list of key themes for discussion, based around the above questions. We will then tackle each of these themes in turn, highlighting the problems they generate, and finding solutions where possible, or at the very least, reducing the burden they present by sharing our thoughts and issues.

Required readings:

Alexandra Bakalaki. 1997. Students, Natives, Colleagues: Encounters in Academia and in the Field. Cultural Anthropology 12(4), pp. 502-526

Maja Povrzanović Frykman. 2003. The War and After. On War-Related Anthropological Research in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Etnol. trib. 26(33), 55-74

Marina Simić. Fieldwork Dillemas: Problems of Location, Insiderhood, - and Implicit Discourses. Гласник Етнографског института САНУ 58(2), 29-42

Session: Sensory Media

Vanja Čelebičić

The use of sensory media (such as sound recording, use of video, etc) may be limited to being only a method for gathering data while doing research in the field. However, it can also be used as a means of representation which could assist in conveying an experience, and not only in telling a story. For instance, it seems that in many anthropological films despite the accessibility of new technology, most films still stop short of fully utilizing and exploring the advantages video offers with regard to articulating and representing anthropological issues through visual and sound materials. So, ironically, it often seems that both visual and aural dimensions are given secondary importance in anthropological films, while this is in fact what films should do best.  

In this session we will focus on anthropological knowledge as generated through the use of various sensory media. The session will aim to explore the following questions:

- What is the purpose of using sensory media while carrying out ethnographic research? How can it help us represent complex social realities?

- Are there particular research questions or circumstances which can be addressed only through the use of sensory media? 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using it not only in the research process, but also in the later stage of representing social realities?

- Whether and how can anthropological research and representation, which uses sensory media, contribute to the generation of anthropological theory? 

Each participant should prepare a presentation of 8-10 minutes, addressing some of the above mentioned issues. Participants are encouraged to bring with them some aural/visual samples which can help them to illustrate their point during their presentation. 
The aim of this session is to come up with original ideas and practical ways of promoting anthropological knowledge through the use of sensory media.

Literature (choose at least three of the following):

The GDAT debate: No. 9
In anthropology, the image can never have the last say (Bill Watson and Michael Carrithers vs Pavel Buhler and Jakob Hogel) :

Feld, S. & Brenneis D. 2004. ‘Doing Anthropology in Sound’ in American Ethnologist 31:4, 461- 474.

Ruby, Jay. ‘Towards an Anthropological Cinema’. Lecture presented at the Nordic Anthropological Film Association Meetings, Ísafjörur, Iceland, 6 June 2008. 

Pink, S. Kurti, L and Afonso, A (eds) 2004 . 'Introduction' in Working Images: Visual Research and Representation in Ethnography. London: Routledge. 

David MacDougall 2005 ‘Introduction’ in: The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography and the Senses. Princeton: Princeton University Press

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