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The Elephant in the Room: Fieldwork, alcohol and ethnography

Abstract

Cryptic warnings about the prevalence of alcohol consumption are inadequate preparation for
ethnographic work in hunter-gatherer communities. Grounding in the literature surrounding alcohol
consumption is essential for any ethnographer working in this situation, in addition to a reflexive
examination of attitudes to alcohol which are exported to the field. Engaging with the literature
concerning anthropology's relationship to the ethnography of alcohol consumption, this article explores in detail the habits around and consequences of the presence of alcohol in two !Xun and ǂAkhwe Hai||om communities in North-Central Namibia. It illustrates two very different field situations, as well as distinct attitudes from authorities in the form of regional government, national government and farm administration. Additionally, methodological concerns and constraints placed by alcohol are explored, along with coping strategies employed by this researcher.

Bibliography

Goodwin, C. (2017): The Elephant in the Room: Fieldwork, alcohol and ethnography. Liverpool University Press

Authors Goodwin, Charlie
Type unpublished
Title The Elephant in the Room: Fieldwork, alcohol and ethnography
Year 2017
Publisher Liverpool University Press
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