The literature on anthropological research methods, and particularly on field research is now very large indeed (Ellen 1984), but ethnographers of the Mediterranean have until recently contributed little to it, with the exception of a small group of Geertz’s students (Dwyer 1982; Rabinow 1977; Rosen 1984) who have produced both experimental ethnographies and detailed accounts of fieldwork. Perhaps this reticence has some roots in certain special problems faced by anthropology working close to the centres of its own origins (Just 1978; Chapman, in this volume), and perhaps it is partly because another demanding problem — the profusion of historical materials — has also decisively shaped ethnographic writing. Perhaps too, the sense in which theory, method and literary genre are all mutually involved has held back discussion.
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