Strong Collaboration as a Method for Multi-sited Ethnography: On Mycorrhizal Relations
Once there was a mushroom that so enticed everyone with its spicy, sweet aroma that people would pay a fortune for a sliver in their soup. The mushroom hid and prospered in cool mountain forests, where deer and squirrels followed its delicious scent. And the people, too, came to gather it, plucking it from the roots of pines. From its revenues, mansions were built in Tibet and village cooperatives prospered in Oaxaca. War refugees from the hills of Laos gathered it in Oregon. The North Korean army claimed its harvest as a security objective. Nature lovers reshaped the landscape to revive it in Kyoto, and ecotourists sought it out in Finland. In time, a group of anthropologists became curious about these goings on. How could one mushroom create so many different social-natural worlds? What might we learn from studying its diversity within the interconnections of its commodity chain? This chapter is our first report on the conditions of collaboration that can make such a multi-sited study possible.