EMOTIONS IN THE FIELD: WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
Article first published online: 16 FEB 2005
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 17–37, March 2005
How to Cite
Beatty, A. (2005), EMOTIONS IN THE FIELD: WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 11: 17–37. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2005.00224.x
- Issue published online: 16 FEB 2005
- Article first published online: 16 FEB 2005
In the anthropology of emotion, rival approaches – cultural relativism and a universalism based on common humanity or shared experience – imply different forms of engagement in the field. This article, a sceptical appraisal, suggests that ethnographers commonly fail to build the diversity of emotional practice into their accounts and have therefore provided a flawed basis for theorizing and comparison. With reference to two Indonesian cases – Nias and Java – I suggest that the domain of emotion is diversely bounded cross-culturally and is inconsistently constructed in particular contexts. This has critical implications for fieldwork methodology, cross-cultural comparison, and theories of human development.