Field Research in Indigenous Contexts

  • Arnold Groh


In this final chapter, the theoretical considerations of the previous chapters are applied to real-life situations. Thus, the perspectives gained on what cultures are; if, when and why they change; how they can become dominant; and what globalisation means now help to find the best practices for planning and carrying out field research in indigenous contexts. This is done on the basis of relevant articles for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which are examined under the aspect of our topic. Since comprehensive preparation for field research in indigenous contexts is indispensable, it is set out in detail how to conduct education and training, aiming at optimum transcultural competency of the researchers-to-be, as well as of others, who want to be fit for sustainable intercultural work. While preparing the field research, it is necessary to understand the semiotic functions of the indigenous people’s descriptions in already available texts and pictures. Such descriptions need to be scrutinised critically, taking the relevant psychological mechanisms of their origination into consideration. Also, the socio-cognitive functioning of scientists is analysed, resorting to functional models of intercultural processes. From such meta-perspectives and a Theory of Mind approach, the role of the researchers’ culture of origin can be taken into account with regard to their perspective-taking, the effects of their expectations and cultural distance, so that irrationalities can be avoided. Finally, practical issues are addressed, including healthcare, and advice is given as how to concretely behave in particular circumstances in indigenous settings.


Planning Mentalisation Functional models Ethnography Teaching Intercultural competency Expedition conduct 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold Groh
    • 1
  1. 1.Technical University of BerlinBerlinGermany

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