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ISEK - Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies Social and Cultural Anthropology

Anthropological Team Research

Ethnologische Teamforschung


The concept of the genius, a person with outstanding intellectual or creative abilities, has long shaped the ideal of the scientist as envisioned in the ivory tower, even though scientific knowledge is always the social product of ‘thought collectives’ (Ludwig Fleck). In anthropology too, ‘methodological solipsism’ seems to prevail, as the ethnographical monograph is often attributed to the subjective whole of ‘total experiences’ (Judith Okely) of the singular researcher in the field.

We would like to oppose this tradition with the idea of the collective genius and creativity of the team. We put the strength of team research to the test during all the steps of a research project: from the conception of the research question, to the field-research and the evaluation of the data (during so-called ‘Forschungswerkstatt’ or research workshop), to writing-up and publication. In addition, we understand field research as a place where knowledge is created in interaction and collaboration as a kind of genius loci, which must also be taken into account in the resulting steps of producing ethnographies.