Origins of Social Fieldwork ∴ draft

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The origins of social fieldwork and ethnography

With all the discoveries of trade, scientists in the form of naturalists and social observers traveled along.


Introduce Claude Levi-Strauss and the scope of Anthropology.

Ethnography not specific to ethnicity but for opening our own understanding of ourselves. Social fieldwork is about discovering and exploring our humanity in relationship to others in our man made world and with the natural world. It is about what makes us happy in community and individually.

People Already Doing Social Fieldwork

Journalists, anthropologists, organizational development specialists, community engagement folks, nonprofits, land trusts and more! Many of the strategies come out of the Peace Corps in the 1970s and are now found mostly in overseas participatory development projects. The German Aid Agency is particularly good at this work. You can also look to the Institute for Development Studies for guidance.

PAR comes to us from our very own Peace Corps and the work done to support community and economic development in real terms overseas. This is the work of USAID when the State Department doesn’t set course on another less than helpful agenda which we’ll not talk about here. The Guild’s work is to bring that amazing body of practice and those with experience already to bear on sustainable development in our own country. This kind of work is well-suited to anthropologists, organizational development specialists, journalists, activists, social workers and more!

In 2016, our work was referenced in a significant peer reviewed anthology, The Environment in Anthropology (Second Edition): A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living, edited by Nora Haenn, Allison Harnish, Richard Wilk and published by NYU Press.

You can also explore:
Journalists are looking for new ways to make their work relevant. [find link] And, National Geographic was a repository of excellent social fieldwork since its inception.

What happened to research about the human condition?

The curtain fell on discourse when we introduce a class based form of mass education to systematize a procedural approach to employment. The art of work became the efficiency of new approaches and technologies undermining good judgment and the capacity to observe. Templates replaced creativity.

Furthermore, with new form of globalization we introduce notions of class built on mass education up to the highest reaches of graduate school and research institutes.

Over time, education must not transform our understanding of wisdom lived in the place where we reside. Rather, education will inform our greater inquiry. In this times, social fieldwork will cumulatively and in the aggregate improve decisions globally.

Apparently, the human condition was deemed uninteresting to academia. Social psychology became business management. And, artful observation of our human experience became psychology and the treatment of all our “dis-ease.”

Social fieldwork is exploratory research. Unfortunately, very few academics still conduct exploratory research in the social sciences.

The lack of connection affects every aspect of discourse from science to political. Discourse relies primarily on the repeating with a novel new twist the existing literature on human experience.

Socio-cultural details: How do we talk about our innate knowing and expression of our own experience

The blog | Unite our Understanding will provide nuggets of explanation in which to better understand the underlying fabric of our daily experience. We need to develop a better language for talking about what matters. For instance, by utilizing the framework of culture, we can best examine the adventure of the daily life in its intricate details. From that understanding, we can get a better sense of what is important and needs to be protected. We can create a defensible expression rooted in systematic research and built on consensus.

Economics for Peace Institute places attention of indicators of community well-being and ecosystem stewardship. In our work, we encourage Local people bring their attention to the critical conversation of what matters – people converse with a focus on the positive in daily life.

Social fieldwork is not used only to develop on quality of life indicators. Fieldwork has wide-ranging applications.