Anthropology that warms your heart: on being a bride in the field


  • Anna Cristina Pertierra University College London



This paper reflects upon the difficult entanglement of personal and professional identities that I experienced when getting married during doctoral fieldwork. In addition to producing insights for my ethnographic data, the process of marrying, and the planning of a wedding, transformed my understanding of my relationship to informants, requiring me to re-examine my previously unconscious distance between my 'fieldwork life' and my 'real life'. Falling in love in the field, under the watchful gaze of informants and beyond the gaze of home, obliged me to challenge distinctions I had unintentionally made between an intellectual, anthropological involvement with Cuban culture, and an emotional, aesthetic and personal distance from Cuban culture. At the same time, I concluded that such artificial distinctions between 'field' and 'life' were in themselves necessary and productive strategies to manage the emotional challenges of extended fieldwork.

Author Biography

Anna Cristina Pertierra, University College London

Anna Cristina Pertierra recently completed a PhD in Anthropology at University College London. Her research interests include consumption, material culture, domesticity, media, and the anthropologies of socialism and the Latin American/Caribbean region. She was married in a 'simple' ceremony in April 2004 in Santiago de Cuba.