Fieldwork Emotions: Embedded Across Cultures, Shared, Repressed, or Subconscious

  • Judith OkelyEmail author
Part of the Theory and History in the Human and Social Sciences book series (THHSS)


Anthropological participant observation should confront binary oppositions and extreme dichotomies. Western intellectual traditions have illuminated dichotomies in definitions, especially Descartes’ Mind/Body division. The disembodied “I think therefore I am” prioritizes the intellect over other aspects of human experience such as the senses. Nevertheless, another French intellectual, Marcel Mauss, centuries later, published an outstanding essay on Les Techniques du Corps (1936). He explored the multiple ways in which bodily movement differs according to culture. Internal cultural differences are also affected by age and gender, which he did not confront at that pioneering stage. Notwithstanding, Mauss is relevant to the practice of anthropological fieldwork across cultures. The anthropologist learns not only with her/his mind, but crucially, in combination with the body.


Autobiography Ethnography Emotion Feminism Travellers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HullHullUK
  2. 2.School of Anthropology and Museum EthnographyOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  3. 3.Wolfson CollegeOxfordUK

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