Deciphering signs: An empirical apprenticeship

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Abstract

The aim of the article is to explore how an apprenticeship through signs can inform ethnographic inquiries. Upon engaging with signs, one can develop new empirical sensibilities that could allow for the appreciation of the flows, forces and intensities encountered during such research processes. In particular, it enables us to attend to those aspects of research that we may struggle to capture or illuminate. We suggest naming such endeavour nomadography in order to emphasize the move away from anthropocentric accounts and to reflect the iterative, polymorphic and experiential nature of this approach. We also draw on a brief extract from some fieldwork in Fiji that focused on the ‘discovery’ of a new plant species. In particular, we wish to explore how a nomadographic approach provides a way of rejuvenating our thinking conceptually, empirically and methodologically by rethinking these three interconnecting and overlapping aspects of the research process.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnography
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2016

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