Ethnographic fieldwork is something which is often presented as mysterious and inexplicable. How do we know certain things after having done fieldwork? Are we sure we know? And what exactly do we know? This book describes ethnographic fieldwork as the gradual accumulation of knowledge about something you don't know much about. We start from ignorance and gradually move towards knowledge, on the basis of practices for which we have theoretical and methodological motivations. Jan Blommaert and Dong Jie draw on their own experiences as fieldworkers in explaining the complexities of ethnographic fieldwork as a knowledge trajectory. They do so in an easily accessible way that makes these complexities easier to understand and to handle before, during and after fieldwork.
Jan Blommaert is Professor of Language, Culture and Globalization at Tilburg University, where he is also the director of the Babylon Center. His publications include Language Ideological Debates (1999), Discourse: A Critical Introduction (2005), Grassroots Literacy (2008) and The Sociolinguistics of Globalization (2010). Dong Jie completed her PhD at Tilburg University in 2009, her dissertation was about the practices of identity construction of Chinese internal migrants in Beijing. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the Babylon Center and the Department of Languages and Cultures, Tilburg University.
1. Introduction 2. Ethnography 3. The sequence 1: Prior to fieldwork 4. The sequence 2: In the field 5. The sequence 3: After fieldwork 6. Postscript