Re-imagining Ethnographic Fieldwork: The Place of the Researcher During and in PostCovid-19 Era

Author: Jasmine Phang
Year: 2021
Title: Re-imagining Ethnographic Fieldwork: The Place of the Researcher During and in Post-Covid-19 Era
UKM Ethnic Studies Paper Series No. 68 (August)
ISBN: 978-967-0741-70-3

From Bronislaw Malinowski’s exile-turned-ethnography to Clifford Geertz’s thick description of Balinese cockfight and to the digital turn, ethnography has been part and parcel to the anthropology discipline. Nevertheless, in an era of health risks brought about by a global pandemic, social distancing rules have become the new norm, and will remain in the foreseeable future. Where ethnography involves the insertion of the researcher in a community with close person-to-person communication and participation in the community, the restrictions of infection preventive interventions make such endeavour difficult, if not impossible – laying to waste the operationality of traditional ethnographic fieldwork. What, then, lies in the future of ethnography? This piece suggests for a re-imagination of the constitution of ethnography, and to where it may lead in postcoronavirus times.

Keywords: Ethnography, Covid-19