Fieldwork in Social and Cultural Anthropology

Moshe Shokeid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The article presents the origins of the method of fieldwork in European and American anthropology. It introduces the practice of fieldwork " "participant observation" " as developed in the study of small, remote societies, during the era of colonialism. The article proceeds to discuss later transformations in ethnographic research: moving away from the colonial territories to fieldwork sites in Western industrial societies. The choice of new types of communal and institutional settings in urban and globalized spaces of social life also instigated major changes of methodology and theory in ethnographic projects. These include also a growing awareness of the impact of the researcher's presence during fieldwork, his/her identity, as well as the expansion of the variety of the types of data considered in ethnographic projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015


  • Colonialism
  • Ethnographic method
  • Ethnography
  • Extended case method
  • Fieldnotes
  • Fieldwork
  • Informants
  • Participant observations
  • Polymorphous engagements
  • Reflexivity
  • Symbolic interaction


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