Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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Straddling between Different Worlds: Navigating Diverse Fieldwork Modes
Iqra Anugrah

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 707
Date: 2019-07-26 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Last modified: 2019-06-18


Social science fieldwork is often seen as a challenging and often-misunderstood intellectual enterprise. Long seen as the domain of the few, fieldwork – more specifically, its major component, immersion – has made a comeback in social science despite the enduring drive toward quantification in the discipline (Morgenbesser and Weiss, 2018; Schatz, 2009). But misperceptions regarding fieldwork, such as its perceived machismo and inability to offer generalizations, still persist among social science researchers and readers while in reality fieldwork entails different types of work and modes of engagement with local interlocutors and social realities.

This paper therefore aims to debunks the myths surrounding fieldwork and contextualizes it. Focusing on my own fieldwork experience in Indonesia since 2015 as an early-career, anthropologically-inclined political scientist, I will discuss my experience conducting fieldwork for three different types of research: policy, dissertation, and advocacy research. In particular, I will highlight the serendipities that I encountered on the field, the fieldwork logistics, and my experience in gathering data and dealing with various stakeholders and interlocutors. It is hoped that this self-reflexive narrative will shed some light on the relationship between researchers and their field sites, demystify fieldwork process, and better situate fieldwork within social science methodological arsenals.