Picture of the week: Is fieldwork ecologically valid?
Many anthropologists are uncomfortable with the idea of performing experiments on the people – friends – they meet during fieldwork. This is partly for ethical reasons (which, one might add, are rarely seriously reflected on). But it is also because they doubt the ecologically validity of tasks which artificially disrupt the flow of ordinary life. This is a serious concern; but of course the same concern can be raised about anthropological fieldwork itself, which represents a dramatic intervention in the lives of our informants.
First picture: People in rural Southeastern Taiwan…
Second picture: …with the anthropologist in their midst.