Nettl’s chapter starts out talking about Malinowski’s approach to fieldwork, a father-like figure of the process. Malinowski focused on texts, structure, and “imponderabilia of everyday life.” Beyond this, Nettl goes on to discuss the evolution of ethnomusicological fieldwork methodology as opposed to anthropological. It begins with the late 19th/early 20th century collection of artifacts, then large collections of artifacts for preservational purposes, then adding on extended residence in a single community, greater contextual sensitivity to the context and music in culture, as well as attempts to understand the entire musical system. The lines then started to get blurry between ethnomusicologists and people interested in playing musics from other cultures, as participation became part of an ethnographer’s fieldwork. The interest in full comprehension decreased and fieldwork became more intensely focused on individual projects, then ethnomusicologists were meant to be well versed in both music and anthropology. Nowdays, an ethnographer can’t possibly be excellent in all the fields required of them, which means teamwork has become an important part of the job, recognizing one’s capacities.
-How often did non-ethnomusicologists who were merely interested in playing music of other cultures publish writing on their experiences?
-Do ethnomusicologists often give up on their subjects or show disrespect for the artifacts?
-Do “ethnomusicological teams” ever write collaboratively? Or is it a principle ethnomusicologist who draws on the expertise of others?
-Do some ethnomusicologists today still stick to older styles of ethnomusicological fieldwork methods? Are they frowned upon in the discipline for doing so?
Yow’s chapters are discussing how to conduct a successful interview and the effect of an interview on all parties involved. The essence of the first article is basically that you want to make the narrator feel comfortable, useful, and understood. The four stages of building rapport with the narrator are apprehension, exploration, cooperation, and participation. The end of the article focuses on how to deal with particularly delicate situations and hard questions. The article feels relatively intuitive, although it may not be so for some people. However, I think interviewing is something that would be really hard to learn from a reading. Yes, there are rules you can follow, but it is really all about reading the other person and sensing how you are coming across to them. Still, I think her writing is important for thinking through the process. The second article basically breaks down the strangeness, for both narrator and interviewer, of analyzing someone else’s life with your questions.
-If an interview is not going well, if the narrator does not seem to take the interviewer particularly seriously, likely due to age, is bolstering the perception of informed-ness an option?
-Do some interviews only make it as far as exploration/cooperation?
-In terms of ethnographical writing, how in-depth are our interviews likely to be this semester?
-What are the legal issues regarding interview recording?
The first chapter read of Madison is discussing the relationship between method and theory in approaching fieldwork. While there are many people who may stick to either an all-out theoretical approach, this comes across as being overly subjective and lacking in structure for those more supportive of a methodical approach. Madison appears to be pretty strongly methodical, but at the same time wants to emphasize the fact that the two are not by any means exclusive, constantly informing and guiding one another, and at times indistinguishable. After an overall approach has been determined, Madison goes through various steps in the process of starting a study. Main points include the creation of a research design and lay summary, various models for formulating interview questions, being aware of threats to the narrator during and after the interview process, and coding materials post-interview. Much of Madison’s work overlaps with that of Yow, although her way of approaching the process is a little more zoomed out.
-Why, on page 19, is the “discussion” section never noted in the method models? Is it assumed that you discuss results at the same time that you present results? I’m just curious, as this would be rather different from scientific method models to which I have been exposed (and sensibly so, as this isn’t the same scientific realm).
-How does coding work? I get that it is important and that you cluster and organize, but what does it look like? Do you take notes on all of your interview tapes and organize them like that?
-I agree that starting with yourself is important. However, is it not difficult to hold back your own personal attachment to the original question or subject during the writing process in particular?
-Should you keep yourself somewhat out of it? This has been discussed in classes previously, I believe, talking about how removed an author is from the “story” in his text.
The second chapter of Madison that we read includes a distillation of the Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Association, although it doesn’t capture all of what is stated in the Code by any means. The Code and Madison are both quite thorough in discussing the ideals of what anthropologists (and others, depending on context) should strive for. However, I also appreciated Madison’s acknowledgement that the Code is just that, an ideal, and that we live in an imperfect world in which a code can only be that for which we strive and by which we can be judged. Madison’s ethics also move beyond that of the code and speak of more broad, conceptual errors, such as faulty generalization, circulatory arguments, inadequate paradigms, and falsification of the states of knowledge.
-In terms of renumeration, what should a researcher do if paying them equal pay as they would elsewhere has the potential to create tensions in the community?
-In the example of studying cannibalism in an already marginalized culture, how could one approach the problem without entirely giving up on it? Downplay the role of cannibalism? Explain its importance in a manner relatable to the readership?
-How does the unequal representation of hate group opinions/values/etc. work? It makes sense, but it is also rather subjective, right?
-Fine suggests that ethnographers should not focus on the language of their writing, that it can lead to a lack of evidence. How can anyone writing anything think that the language of the writing is not important to focus on?