Development and anthropological fieldwork: Towards a symmetrical anthropology of inter-cultural relations


  • Chris Campregher



development, symmetrical anthropology, hidroelectrical dam, El Diquís, Térraba, Teribe,


This text reflects on the recent science and technology studies (STS) turn in the anthropology of development. It highlights the similarities between the practice of development cooperation and ethnographic fieldwork. There has been considerable influence of STS in the post-millennium anthropology of development. How do STS and STS-inspired development studies contribute to the broader disciplinary development of anthropology? Based on contributions and concepts from Science and Technology Studies, I argue that the study of development helps us to understand our own knowledge and practice by observing how we engage with other people. The methodological principles and concepts presented in this text allow us to study inter-cultural relations symmetrically, including the researcher and his/her actions.

Author Biography

Chris Campregher

Chris Campregher is currently writing his doctoral thesis at the University of Vienna, Austria. He is based in Costa Rica and works there in an applied “research for development” project on biocultural diversity for the University of Costa Rica with the indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé on the border to Panama and as consultant for environmental NGOs. He is particularly interested in the study of development and intercultural relations, Actor-Network Theory, natural resource management, tropical ecology and the use of plants. The author can be contacted at [email protected]