When British anthropologist Nigel Barley set up home among the Dowayo people in northern Cameroon, he knew how fieldwork should be conducted. Unfortunately, nobody had told the Dowayo. His compulsive, witty account of first fieldwork offers a wonderfully inspiring introduction to the real life of a cultural anthropologist doing research in a Third World area. Both touching and hilarious, Barley's unconventional story--in which he survived boredom, hostility, disaster, and illness--addresses many critical issues in anthropology and in fieldwork.
Also by Nigel Barley and available from Waveland Press: Grave Matters: Encounters with Death around the World (ISBN 978-1577664310). Titles of related interest available from Waveland Press: DeVita, Stumbling toward Truth: Anthropologists at Work (ISBN 9781577661252) and Gardner-Hoffman, Dispatches from the Field: Neophyte Ethnographers in a Changing World (ISBN 9781577664512).
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"The prevalence of factual data in anthropological monographs stems . . . from an attitude of 'when in doubt, collect facts.' This is, in a sense, an understandable approach. So off I went every day, armed with my tobacco and notebooks and paced out the fields, calculated the yields, counted the goats in a flurry of irrelevant activity. This at least had the virtue of making my weird and inexplicable ways familiar to the Dowayos and I began to know them by name." (from Chapter 6)Review:
"I absolutely love this book and am using it this semester. The text is extremely readable and provides students with real insight into how fieldwork can go right even in the face of adversity." --Yvonne Downes, Hilbert College
"I have decided to use it in my Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course. Its strength was the author's clear articulation of the fieldwork process in all its highs and lows." --Christina Schwenkel, University of California, Riverside
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