Barbara Anderson's First Fieldwork
Précis: “First Fieldwork”
1. Where did Barbara Anderson’s fieldwork take place and what was the goal of her research?
Barbara Anderson’s fieldwork took place in the fishing village of Taarnby, Denmark on the island of Amager in the Oresund in the 50’s. The goal of her research was to publish the unseen side of fieldwork. She wanted to share the personal and professional sides of fieldwork with the reader. She went to the island to help her husband study culture change.
2. Who accompanied Anderson to her field site?
Barbara Anderson’s husband (Thor), her daughter (Katie; 5yrs old), and Anderson’s unborn child (Sarah) accompanied her to her field site.
3. Why was Anderson’s incompetence with language and household skills both a problem and a blessing for her work in Taarnby?
Anderson’s incompetence with language and household problems were due to the translation and understanding of a new culture. Barbara’s confusion of flour with sugar caused her meat loaf to be a disaster. The two words were very similar in Denmark. She also failed to understand the use of a timer. Her incompetence was a blessing because it showed she couldn’t be a threat to the community. The chief pilot’s wife, who had eluded attempts of an interview, agreed to one and also offered personal cooking lessons.
4. Explain how Barbara became “immersed” in Danish culture in the bathhouse.
Due to her lack of the language she had to unknowingly “dive” into the bathhouse. Her husband failed to give her any information. She had to learn on her own about the steam bath, the shower’s foot pedal, the wood shavings, the hot tub, and the cold tank. She didn’t know the appropriate behaviors or protocol of the bathhouse. The attendants and fellow bathers tried to lead her in the right direction. Her many mishaps cause her to learn that she doesn’t completely understand a culture until she is immersed in it.
5. Discuss how Barbara gained villager...