Fieldwork and Pain

Issues in field research methodologies involving extreme field circumstances

Authors

  • Tullio Lobetti University of London

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v5i2.144

Keywords:

asceticism, fieldwork, hermeneutic, Japan, methodology, objectivity, religion

Abstract

Participant observation in particularly demanding circumstances may often blur the line between the researcher and the object of research. Such are the cases where the researcher needs to participate in “extreme” religious feats involving ascetic practices, seclusion, use of narcotics, and so on. In such circumstances traditional methodological approaches seem to be undermined by the compelling urge for the researcher to deal with his or her own needs as well as carrying on the proposed fieldwork research. Although this can be considered as an argument for lack of “objectivity,” it should also be noted that this outburst of “feelings” and other emotional traits might be considered as part of the fieldwork results as well. The purpose of this article is to offer a variety of fieldwork data collected under such particular research circumstances for scrutiny. The main portion of the material comes from a field research conducted in 2006–2007 in Japan, dealing with Japanese ascetic practices.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Tullio Lobetti, University of London

Tullio Lobetti graduated in Japanese Language and Literature at the University of Turin in 2003. Since then, he pursued his interest in the study of religion in Japan by obtaining an MA degree in Japanese Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS – University of London) in 2004. In the same year he started his PhD research at SOAS on the topic “Body and Ascetic Practices in Contemporary Japanese Religious Context.” He is now a Teaching Fellow in the department of the Study of Religions at SOAS.

References

Bell, Catherine. 1992. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blacker, Carmen. 1999. The Catalpa Bow: A Study in Shamanistic Practices in Japan. Richmond, Surrey: Japan Library.

Bronkhorst, Johannes. 2001. “Asceticism, Religion, and Biological Evolution,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 13, 374–418. doi:10.1163/157006801X00309

Freiberger, Oliver. 2006. Asceticism and its Critics: Historical Accounts and Comparative Perspectives. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Glucklich, Ariel. 2001. Sacred Pain : Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Gramsci, Antonio, and Valentino Gerratana. 1975. Quaderni Del Carcere. Torino: G. Einaudi.

Heisenberg, Werner. 1958. Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science. New York: Harper, 1st edn.

Hollywood, Amy. 2002. “Performativity, Citationality, Ritualization,” History of Religions, 42.2, 93–115. doi:10.1086/463699

Jackson, Michael D. 2005. Existential Anthropology: Events, Exigencies, and Events. Berghahn: New York and Oxford.

Kant, Immanuel, and Mary J. Gregor. 1991. The Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lévinas, Emmanuel, and Philippe Nemo. 1985. Ethics and Infinity. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1st edn.

Lévinas, Emmanuel. 1998. Of God Who Comes to Mind. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2nd edn.

Madell, Geoffrey. 1988. Mind and Materialism. Edinburgh: University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1970. “The Spatiality of the Lived Body and Motility,” in Spicker, 1970, 241–73.

Miyake, Hitoshi. 1971. Shugend? girei no kenky?. Tokyo: Shunj?sha.

—1989. “Religious Rituals in Shugend?,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 16.2–3, 101–16.

Riley, Charles A. 1998. The Saints of Modern Art: The Ascetic Ideal in Contemporary Painting, Sculpture, Archietecture, Music, Dance, Literature, and Philosophy. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Said, Edward W. 2003. Orientalism. London: Penguin Books.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1957. Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. London: Methuen.

Scheler, Max. 1961. Man’s Place in Nature. Boston: Beacon Press.

—1970. “Lived Body, Environment, and Ego,” in Spicker, 1970, 159–86.

Spicker, Stuart F. 1970. The Philosophy of the Body: Rejections of Cartesian Dualism. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.

Weber, Max. 1964. The Sociology of Religion. Boston: Beacon Press.

—2001. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.

Published

2011-07-14

How to Cite

Lobetti, T. (2011). Fieldwork and Pain: Issues in field research methodologies involving extreme field circumstances. Fieldwork in Religion, 5(2), 144–161. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v5i2.144

Issue

Section

Articles