The multiple boundaries of ethnographic inquiry: liminal experiences as opportunities for reflexive knowing

Elisa Giulia Liberati, Giuseppe Scaratti

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


In the last thirty years, numerous theoretical works have been devoted to elaborate on the nature of ethnographers’ relationship with fieldwork members (e.g. Clifford & Marcus, 1986; Feldman et al, 2003; Lassiter, 2005; Gobo, 2011; Boccagni, 2011). The focus of this work is at the same time broader and more specific: we propose to explore the boundary characteristics of the multiple relations that shape the ethnographic fieldwork. Such a reflective exploration has the potential to raise new insights on our research objects, and to offer new lenses for analyze our findings. Our theoretical proposal is to conceptualize the relations of the ethnographic fieldwork as an ongoing and inter-subjective process of boundaries construction, moving, blurring and dissolution. Such an assumption explains why ethnographers often find themselves in liminal situations, standing at the edge of different worlds and experiencing the blurred hyphen-space between themselves and the “others” (Fine, 1994, Cunliffe & Karunanayake, 2013). Drawing on different boundary theories (Lamont & Molnàr, 2002; Hernes, 2003; Lefevbre, 1991; Gyerin, 1982) we propose a composite framework that allows interpreting the multiple relationships between researchers and fieldwork members in terms of a shapeshifting configuration of different boundaries.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteQuinto Convegno di Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa - Abstract Book
Numero di pagine6
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014
Evento5th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference - Bergamo
Durata: 5 giu 20147 lug 2014


Convegno5th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference


  • boundaries
  • ethnography
  • knowledge
  • reflexivity


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