chapter  10
16 Pages

Multi-sited Ethnography: Notes and Queries

ByGeorge E. Marcus

Multi-sited Ethnography: Notes and Queries1

Attempts to do multi-sited ethnography push ethnography (and the professional craft of fieldwork) to the limits of its classic aesthetic or ‘feel’ (expressed in all the quite informal, but crucially regulative, shop talk about what is and is not good ethnography), for which I will let the Malinowskian paradigm or complex stand as a short hand in this essay. Much social and cultural anthropology still operates within the limits governed by the Malinowskian complex in the operation of professional culture. The ethnography of peoples, places, and cultures in situ, and their immense contemporary transformations, is, piecemeal, alive and vigorous in all sorts of interdisciplinary venues which define anthropology’s participations and research agendas. However, particularly over the last decade anthropologists have also been trying to do something quite different with ethnography, and not with just ethnography plus other methods (such as archival research, literary analysis, theoretical exegesis, and so on), which is a common solution to the limits challenge of making ethnography multi-sited. This entails the valorization of methodological bricolage and spectacular performance which are cultural studies styles that have had a profound influence on the anthropological culture of method (see Marcus 2007).