Breakdowns for breakthroughs: using anxiety and embarrassment as insightful points for understanding fieldwork
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter (peer-reviewed)
In this chapter I make the case for researchers to look at the moments that make them feel anxious about their language in fieldwork (e.g. being inarticulate, uncomfortable or embarrassed). I write this article from the perspective of a researcher who learnt (and is still learning) Hungarian and whose attempts at understanding and speaking Hungarian provide plenty of awkward or embarrassing moments to reflect upon. Such moments highlight my evolving relationships with others and wider aspects of power and hierarchy in the fieldwork setting. This chapter calls for researchers who learn another language for fieldwork to reflect on breakdowns in communication as sites of potential breakthroughs, which can become key to understanding fieldwork. At the same time, I hope this chapter can speak to all researchers, as embarrassing moments and communication breakdowns are certainly not confined to language learners, although perhaps learning another language can crystallise communication breakdowns in more obvious ways.
|Title of host publication||Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research|
|Editors||Robert Gibb, Annabel Tremlett, Julien Danero-Iglesias|
|Place of Publication||Bristol|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Oct 2019|