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Anthropology Otherwise: Rethinking Approaches to Fieldwork in Different Anthropological Traditions, Petnica, Valjevo, Serbia, 1-4 September 2011 Dead Line: 1 June

(1) generate a dialogue between researchers working on projects based in
the Balkan region/Eastern Europe, yet in different ethnographic
traditions. This includes those who use 'immersion’ (long-term
fieldwork) and ‘back and forth’ (repeated short visits) models
of ethnographic research. The aim is to discuss epistemological
possibilities opened and closed by each of these models, and how these
two models complement each other.

(2) participate in a forum in which to try out a consensus-based
decision making process in order to find common ground between different
research methodologies and foci. By using consensus-based decision
making process, we hope to illustrate how the workshop
process, and ultimately, the knowledge produced, is shaped by the
organisational forms in which it takes place. Hence we take seriously
the premise that the material and organisational culture(s) of an event
or institution shape (if not determine) in an important
way, the kinds of and qualities of knowledge produced.

The conference has two key aims:

1. To generate a dialogue between researchers working in different
ethnographic traditions. Participants will come from traditions which
use the 'immersion model' of research (loosely defined as Anglo-Saxon,
which involves spending an extended amount of time,
usually a year or more, in one location), and from traditions which use
an approach which we will call the ‘back and forth’ model for the
purposes of this conference (loosely defined as Balkan/Eastern European,
whereby researchers make repeated short visits
to a fieldsite for a month or so at a time). The conference will be a
place for thinking about relations of different ways of doing a
discipline, which has at least four names: social anthropology/cultural
anthropology/ethnology/ethnography, through research
- how do researchers do it? Instead of theorising different
possibilities of producing theory in ‘the West’ as opposed to producing
theory in ‘the Balkans’ or ‘(South) Eastern Europe’ we intend to
theorise ethnographic research practices and their implications
for knowledge production. Since there are different ways of doing
fieldwork research, what are their similarities, and what are the
differences? What is gained and what is lost through particular ways of
doing ethnography? Where does the link between geographical
regions and the two models come from? In what way can elements of one
model be translated into the other? How do researchers combine them? In
what way is the boundary between them constituted? The conference will
open a discussion about existing ways of doing
fieldwork, and of methodological, epistemological, and political issues
brought up by existing fieldwork designs.

2. To provide a forum in which to try out a consensus-based decision making process.
Consensus method is a tool to challenge people who have been doing
anthropology/ethnology in a particular way to find a common ground with
people who have been doing ethnology/anthropology ‘otherwise'.
What is consensus-based decision making process and why use it?
The insights regarding the importance of material and organisational
cultures (in shaping the kinds of and qualities of knowledge that is
produced) are often applied to knowledge produced ‘in the field’ and
less frequently to working contexts in academia as
well. In academia knowledge comes out of institutional contact with
other academics as much as, for instance, from texts and field
experiences. Academic conferences are often quite hierarchically
organised, with a chair, 'renowned' speakers, and academics
who 'lead' discussions. Instead of a more traditional conference
format, in which participants state their views and experiences and then
ask questions challenging and criticising the views of others, the
conference will use a format borrowed from anarchist
modes of political organising, which is designed to minimise the
presence or formation of hierarchies. It is committed to finding common
ground rather than pitching one set of viewpoints against another. It is
especially productive if there are participants
who are committed to different approaches but who are asked to work
together and find solutions to questions which suit the largest number
of people present, rather than seeking to contrast one creative, often
highly individual or idiosyncratic position with
Participants will attend two out of four offered sessions:
(1) Thinking through the particularities of different research methods.
What kinds of topics, research questions and themes can be addressed
through different kinds of ethnography?
(2) How can we rethink the oldies (old ethnograhies) from the region? What value do such classical ethnographies have today?
(3) ‘Field Guide’ Session. The aim of the session is to produce a 'field
guide' where we aim to reach consensus on what difficulties researchers
setting out to do fieldwork in the region may expect to come across.
(4) What is the place of sensory media in an ethnographic research? How
do we use it – to tell a story, to convey an experience, to
theoretically generate an anthropological knowledge, or for something
Key note speakers: to be announced soon
Working language(s)
primary: English
also: Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian

Applications are welcomed from researchers who have an active interest
in practicing ethnography in a variety of fields: social/cultural
anthropology/ethnology/ethnography would be the most obvious choice, as
well as researchers working in fields of political
science, sociology, cultural studies, etc. who (plan to) utilise
Please send a CV and the application form, including 3000 characters
(with spaces) explaining in what way the conference themes are of
interest to you and/or relate to your work. Also indicate your
order of preference for the session, putting 1 next to the most, and 4
to the least preferable choice. The application should be sent to
There is no conference fee. Accommodation and meals are covered, and there is a possibility of refunding travel expenses.
Organisers: Carna Brkovic
(University of Manchester), Vanja Celebicic (University of Manchester),
Marina Simic (University of Belgrade), Andrew Hodges (University of
Deadline for applications: 1st June 2011
Successful candidates will be informed by 1st July 2011
For more details about the conference and conference themes, please visit