1 What's that bird?
DOI link for 1 What's that bird?
1 What's that bird? book
A punch-up on a forest footpath is scarcely an orthodox way to conduct an ethnoscientiﬁc enquiry, if not downright questionable. Starting the ﬁght was unintentional. Indeed at the time, even for a long time afterwards, I was unaware that I had learnt anything about ethnoscientiﬁc issues. The methodological implications are intriguing, the episode giving the lie to the idea that anthropologists report everything in their notebooks for subsequent reﬂection and analysis. It illustrates how ethnographic work is more than the compilation of a record: it is an experience. Learning through undocumented, even sometimes undocumentable, experiences comprises a signiﬁcant part of what we come to know too. The knowledge is part of the ethnographer, or as contemporary postmodern critics would have it, an aspect of our subjectivity. We have long known this, as epitomised in that lauded but contradictory methodological approach, participant-observation. Although beyond formal incorporation into our research process, a deal of what we experience informs our subsequent understanding. The implications for the management structures increasingly imposed on research to ensure accountability are worrying, for example the bureaucratic frameworks favoured by development agencies to guide research according to milestone timetables of outputs, which those of us who work to establish indigenous knowledge enquiries into the development mainstream regularly encounter. These show a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of bureaucrats of how research proceeds with human beings. We cannot scientiﬁcally manage it as if working in a laboratory.