Identity/Identities and Fieldwork: Studying Homeopathy and Tai Chi 'at home' in South London
AbstractThis reflexive paper presents the issues around my changing identity/identities during, and after, ethnographic fieldwork "at home" in South London, studying homeopathy and Tai Chi in the community. I will firstly explore this change of identity as a rite of passage using Wengle's notion of symbolic death of identity. This analysis, while useful, is limited in that it can be seen to over-essentialise the concept of identity. I will go on to show how my shifting identities in and after fieldwork were not solely the result of an individual psychological process but were constructed in contextual interaction with others as an embodied participant. It is my belief that ‘going native’ aided my understanding of the embodied experience of being part of alternative groups, but made coming out of the field a difficult time emotionally.
Anthropology Matters uses the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. Individual contributors retain non-exclusive rights to their published material and may reproduce their contribution in whole or in part and use it as the basis for future articles, book chapters, or other works.