Culture shock: negotiating feelings in the field


  • Rachel Irwin University of Oxford



Culture shock is the depression and anxiety experienced by many people when they travel or move to a new social and cultural setting. Although many anthropologist experience culture shock whilst in the field, this is a subject that is rarely discussed in the academic setting. This article explores the issue of culture shock and offers some thoughts on how to relieve it, drawing on the author's own experiences.

Author Biography

Rachel Irwin, University of Oxford

Rachel Irwin recently finished her MPhil in Medical Anthropology at Green College, Oxford. Her thesis, entitled Malaria amongst the Kisii: A Social Anthropological Perspective, considers both ecological changes that have led to malaria re-occurence in the Kisii region of western Kenya, and also the ways in which people deal with their decisions on this subject. She is currently a research coordinator at Agenda Consulting, specialising in nonprofit consulting. She can be contacted at rachel.irwin(AT)