Every year at the beginning of August, since 2006, Professor Rob Wilson has been
busy putting the finishing touches to an annual fieldwork expedition in the Scottish
Highlands. Rob is the leader of the ‘Scottish Pine Project’, a dendroclimatological
project aiming to use Scots pine trees (Pinus Sylvestris L.) to reconstruct the climatic
history of Scotland over the last two millennia. During fieldwork, the members
of the Scottish Pine Project and other occasional participants like me collect pieces
of Scots pine wood from forests, buildings and
This handbook is intended for those wanting to use documentary filmmaking as a research method to explore subjects and also as a way of expressing ideas. Its focus is practical rather than technical, aiming to complement the many handbooks that already exist covering filmmaking, digital videography, sound recording and video editing. It concentrates on aspects of filmmaking for research purposes at an introductory level that are not so well documented elsewhere, such as the practical stages involved in the production of an ethnographic film. The underlying principal of this handbook is to broaden the application of ethnographic filmmaking to suit a wide range of research areas and documentary expression, encompassing sensory, fictive, observational, participatory, reflexive, performative and immersive modes of storytelling. I have chosen to avoid detailed discussion of technology as this dates quickly. This handbook aims to assist individuals in their personalised searches using online facilities to develop research methods and also teaching, by decoding technical terminology and explaining filmmaking workflows.
Fieldwork among the no(ta)bles
The trains from Brussels’ Zaventem Airport to the city centre carry thousands
every day. When I took the trip late one evening in July 2005, a Dutch development consultant returning from Africa sat next to me. I had found an apartment
in Brussels online. For the next four weeks, I was going to be an intern at the EU
representation office of one of the most powerful interest groups from Turkey. I
had never been to this post-industrial, northern European, polyglot city Turkish
An accusation in the course of fieldwork
Before one is guilty, one is already uniquely and irreplaceably in a position of
shame in regard to those about whom one is to write.1
I am building my career on the loss of a man named Stojan Sokolović (and
on the loss of many millions of others, who may or may not resemble him).
And one night, he told me: ‘You write about violence – you say that fear
is a violence – that the things that cause fear and insecurity are violences.
But you do not know how that fear
Developed through a series of encounters with a Bosnian Serb soldier Stojan Sokolović, this book is a meditation on the possibilities and limitations of responding to the extreme violence of the Bosnian war. It explores the ethics of confronting the war criminal and investigates the possibility of responsibility not just to victims of war and war crimes, but also to the perpetrators of violence. The book explains how Stojan Sokolović attenuated the author to the fact that he was responsible, to everyone, all the time, and for everything. It exposes the complexity of the categories of good and evil. Silence is also the herald of violence, or its co-conspirator. The author and Stojan Sokolović were trapped in violence, discursive and material, and discursive that leads to material, and material that emanates from and leads back to discursive. Two years after beginning his research into identity and the politics of conflict in Bosnia and Kosovo, the author got the opportunity to visit the region presented itself. According to the vast majority of the literature of the 1990s on Bosnia, it was clear that the biggest problem with nationalist violence and intolerance was to be found in Republika Srpska. The book is the author's discourse on a variety of experiences, including those of ethics, politics, disasters, technologies, fieldwork, adventure tourism, and dilemmas.
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
temporary foreign staff is seen as a counterweight to the embeddedness of locals. In short, ‘proximity’ both defines, and circumvents, local staff’s role.
The article is based on eight months’ ethnographic fieldwork in North Kivu – in the provincial capital Goma, and in Masisi. It draws from 180 interviews with present and former MSF fieldworkers with experience in North Kivu since 2005, in particular, fifty different Congolese employees with experience in Masisi, Rutshuru and Walikale. These interviews were conducted in North Kivu, Paris, London, and on Skype. The
Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez, and Sylvain Landry B. Faye
as animator of a global network aimed at sharing information during the
epidemic ( Abramowitz, 2017 ; Anoko, 2014 ; Enria et al. , 2016 ; Faye, 2015 ; Le Marcis,
2015 ; Moulin, 2015 ; Saez and Borchert, 2014 ). We conducted
fieldwork, surveys, and interviews in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. 5 We interacted with local actors,
government officials and aid and healthcare workers before, during and after the
epidemic. Our research was supplemented with past anthropological
The subject of forensic specialist‘s work with human remains in the aftermath of conflict
has remained largely unexplored within the existing literature. Drawing upon
anthropological fieldwork conducted from 2009–10 in three mortuary facilities overseen by
the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),
this article analyses observations of and interviews with ICMP forensic specialists as a
means of gaining insight into their experiences with the remains of people who went
missing during the 1992–95 war in BiH. The article specifically focuses on how forensic
specialists construct and maintain their professional identities within an emotionally
charged situation. Through analysing forensic specialists encounters with human remains,
it is argued that maintaining a professional identity requires ICMP forensic specialists
to navigate between emotional attachment and engagement according to each situation.
This article will investigate the process of confronting death in cases of the
disappeared of the last military dictatorship in Argentina. Based on the exhumation and
identification of the body of a disappeared person, the article will reflect on how the
persons social situation can be reconfigured, causing structural changes within the family
and other groups. This will be followed by a discussion of the reflections generated by
the anthropologist during his or her interview process, as well as an investigation into
the authors own experiences in the field. This intimate relationship between the
anthropologist and death, through the inevitable contact that takes place among the
bodies, causes resonances in the context both of exhumations and of identifications in the
anthropologists wider fieldwork.
Since the early 1990s, armed actors have invaded territories in the Chocó and Antioquia
departments of Colombia, inhabited by Afro-Colombians and Indians whose collective rights
in these territories had recently been legally recognised. Based on long-term fieldwork
among the Emberá Katío, this article examines social, cosmological and ritual alterations
and re-organisation around violent death. Following a national policy of post-conflict
reparations, public exhumations and identifications of human remains reveal new local
modes of understanding and administration. In particular, suicide, hitherto completely
unknown to the Emberá, broke out in a multitude of cases, mostly among the youth. Local
discourse attributes this phenomenon to the number of stray corpses resulting from the
violence, who are transformed into murderous spirits which shamans can no longer control.
The analysis focusses on the unprecedented articulation of a renewed eschatology, the
intricate effects of an internal political reorganisation and the simultaneous inroad into
their space of new forms of armed insurrectional violence. Thus the article will shed
light on the emergence of a new transitional moral economy of death among the Emberá.