‘BEING THERE’: MOTHERING AND ABSENCE/PRESENCE IN THE FIELD

Trisia Farrelly, Rochelle Stewart-Withers, Kelly Dombroski

Abstract


Much has been written about families and their influence on relationships and research in fieldwork. However, seldom has the absence of family in the field received analytical attention. The authors of this paper contribute to an emerging ‘anthropology of absence’ in a number of ways: We direct the focus of absence away from our participants to reflect on our own child/ren’s absences in the field; we attend to the absence of individual persons whereas most work in this field to date focuses on material objects and ethnic groups; we argue that the embodied traces felt in our child/ren's absence make mother-child relationships unique to other unaccompanied fieldwork experiences; we illustrate the relational and contingent character of absence as absence/presence; we examine the agency of our child/ren’s absence on the process and product of our fieldwork research; and we reflect on how our child/ren’s absence/presence in the field alters our subjectivities as mother-researchers.

Keywords


absence; absence/presence; academic mothers; fieldwork; mothering

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol11iss2id281