BETWEEN PURE AND APPLIED RESEARCH: EXPERIMENTAL ETHNOGRAPHY IN A TRANSCULTURAL TOURIST ART WORLD

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Abstract

This article reports on an ethnographic project designed and conducted as an experimental fieldwork practice. The research was a study of the modern Maya artwork of Pisté, Yucatán, that developed in the context of archaeological heritage tourism at the Maya site of Chichén Itzá, México. The article discusses how the research was designed to explore experimental fieldwork as an alternative path between pure and applied research paradigms. The use of art exhibition and installation was developed as a method of studying tourism phenomena in ways that positively contributed to community life. The research included exhibitions of art conducted as fieldwork encounters. Further, the experimental methodologies allowed the research to be designed and conducted so that the historical and ongoing involvement of anthropology in the art tradition was also studied and formulated as part of the object of study. Concepts of research positioning and transculturation are used to elaborate these principles of research design and practice.

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