Challenging the idea that fieldwork is the only way to gather data, and that standard methods are the sole route to fruitful analysis, Serendipity in Anthropological Research explores the role of fortune and happenstance in anthropology. It conceives of anthropological research as a lifelong nomadic journey of discovery in which the world yields an infinite number of unexplored issues and innumerable ways of studying them, each study producing its own questions and demanding its own methodologies. Drawing together the latest research from a team of senior scholars from around the world to reflect on the experience of research, Serendipity in Anthropological Research presents rich new case studies from Europe and the Middle East to examine both new and old questions in novel and enriching ways. An engaging examination of methodology and anthropological fieldwork, this book will appeal to all those concerned with writing ethnography.
'Ethnographic fieldwork is a daunting adventure. It demands a wrenching combination of empathy and objectivity. There is a constant temptation to rely on formal interviews and surveys, or, conversely, to privilege personal experience. And much depends on fortune. All the work preparing for the field may have to be jettisoned in order to profit from an unexpected opportunity. The contributors to this volume embraced the challenges in their own fieldwork, and they show how good ethnography yields insights and tests hypotheses.' Adam Kuper, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, and author of The Reinvention of Primitive Society: Transformations of a Myth and Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England 'This is a most fitting tribute to the life-long work of Emanuel Marx, the great practitioner and teacher of anthropology, and indefatigable explorer of the ways and means of interaction between cultures and of the accelerated pace of cultural transformations. As the human condition acquires in contemporary society more and more traits associated traditionally with the culture of nomads, his unique and lasting contribution to our knowledge, focused on the investigation of the "nomadic condition" and the nomads' ways of adaptation to the fluid world, has significance reaching well beyond the boundaries of ethnography. It will go on informing and inspiring a wide range of social and human studies zealously seeking a paradigm free from received and still insistent, but by now obsolete, presumptions, and remade to the measure of new challenges: a paradigm reshaped to grasp and comprehend the nature of contemporary living.' Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Leeds, UK, and author of: 'Modernity and the Holocaust' and 'Modernity and Ambivalence'. 'This book will be a good help for anthropologists and social scientists interested in the Middle East, particularly in the complexities and layers of Israeli realities. Th