Antropologi Indonesia


This article reflects on the troubling aspects of an ethnographic method that helps to maintain anthropology as a discipline of the privileged. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people interact socially. Although much ethnographic fieldwork is situated in settings that require face-to-face interactions, the pandemic has made the prospect of future fieldwork in the same manner uncertain. Learning from the current physical distancing, we discuss ethnographic methods that center on possibilities and limitations of the body as a tool of inquiry. We reflect on the possibilities of conducting ethnographic fieldwork when the body as a corporeal entity is undergoing physical and social isolation. In doing so, we reveal a limitation of “being there” in the “field,” based on how researchers’ material bodies are often perceived as fragile, vulnerable, or dangerous by interlocutors. We argue for the relevance of discussing limitations of the body as part of ongoing efforts to promote inclusion in anthropological knowledge production. In responding to the query of methodological dilemmas, this article follows feminist, postcolonial, and indigenous scholars who have long called into questions the universalizing type of ethnographic fieldwork characterized by the able, gendered (masculinist), always-available and up-for-anything body. In addition to ethnographies, this article uses books on methods as relevant resources to navigate the everyday practice of fieldwork that is sensitive to various forms of embodied limitations and possibilities.


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