“Wi, se kretyènn mwen ye” (Yes I am Christian)

Methodological Falsehood in Fieldwork


  • Nadège Mézié ParisV-René Descartes




evangelical, fieldwork, methodological falsehood, participant observation, required identities, strategies, tools


During a field study of a year and a half in the Haitian mountains, I was forced to re-evaluate my research strategy, and consequently the object of my study, after a setback that denied me access to the American evangelical mission, which I had hoped to study from within. This failure to integrate as a non-Protestant researcher, led me to adopt a methodological falsehood to allow me to penetrate the Haitian evangelical mission. The researcher who chooses methodological falsehood has to fashion a passing and superficial redefinition of her appearance, beliefs and practices, and live her new religious identity according to the prevalent beliefs and norms. This paper will focus on the fieldworker’s daily performance in her role of “Christian woman,” and the strategies put in place to respond to the prescriptive criteria of the role being played.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

  • Nadège Mézié, ParisV-René Descartes

    Nadège Mézié is a PhD student in anthropology at the University Paris Descartes. She chose Haiti as her fieldwork site. She stayed there two years studying the verbal interactions in the evangelical community.


Bazin, Jean. 2008. “Sciences des moeurs et description de l’action,” in Des clous dans la Joconde: L’anthropologie autrement. Toulouse: Anacharsis, 347–80.

Bizeul, D. 2003. Avec ceux du FN: Un sociologue au Front National. Paris: La Découverte.

—2007. “Des loyautés incompatibles,” Sociologies, http://sociologies.revues.org/document226. html.

Borutti, S. 1999. “Interprétation et construction,” in F. Affergan ed. Construire le savoir anthropologique. Paris: PUF, 31–48.

Brunois, F. 1999. “Y a-t-il toujours une place ou de la place pour un ethnologue et si oui, à quel prix?” Journal des anthropologues, 76, 93–113.

—2004. “La forêt peut-elle être plurielle?: définitions de la forêt des kasua de NouvellGuinée,” Anthropologie et Sociétés, 28.1, 89–107.

Clifford, J. 1986. “Introduction: Partial Truths,” in J. Clifford and G. E. Marcus eds. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Clifford, J. 1988. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Fine G. A. 1993. “Ten Lies of Ethnography: Moral Dilemmas of Field Research,” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 22.3, 267–94. doi:10.1177/089124193022003001

Geertz, C. 1986. “Making Experiences, Authoring Selves,” in V. W. Turner and E. M. Bruner eds. The Anthropology of Experience. Urbana/Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 373–80.

Goffman, E. 1982. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. New York, Pantheon Books.

Harvey, G. 2004. “Performing and Constructing Research as Guesthood in the Study of Religions,” in L. Hume and J. Mulcock eds. Anthropologists in the Field: Cases in Participant Observation. New York: Columbia University Press, 168–82.

Hastrup, K. 1995. A Passage to Anthropology: Between Experience and Theory. London/New York: Routledge.

Malinowski, B. 1984. Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Prospect Heights: Waveland Press.

Stocking, G. W. 1992. The Ethnographer’s Magic and Other Essays in the History of Anthropoloy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.






How to Cite

Mézié, N. (2011). “Wi, se kretyènn mwen ye” (Yes I am Christian): Methodological Falsehood in Fieldwork. Fieldwork in Religion, 5(2), 180-192. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v5i2.180