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The field as a temporal entity and the challenges of the contemporary

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Abstract

Anthropological definitions and demarcations of ‘the field’ remain fundamentally anchored in tropes of location and spatiality, and the association between field and fieldworker is still primarily characterised as being maintained by distance in space. This article argues that ‘the field’ must be regarded as much as temporally constituted as it is normally seen as spatial. By exploring and unfolding the temporal properties of the field (e.g. different tempos, paces, extensions and projections of past, future etc.), it is suggested that the spatially anchored notion of multi-sited fieldwork can be complemented and extended with one of multi-temporal ethnography.

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