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Paying Forward and Paying Back

Authors

  • Rosanna Hertz

    Corresponding author
    1. Wellesley College
      Direct all correspondence to Rosanna Hertz, Luella LaMer Professor, Departments of Sociology and Women's Studies, Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481; e-mail: rhertz@wellesley.edu.
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Direct all correspondence to Rosanna Hertz, Luella LaMer Professor, Departments of Sociology and Women's Studies, Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481; e-mail: rhertz@wellesley.edu.

Abstract

Twenty years after the conclusion of a fieldwork study, a member of the family that once served as my informant came to live with me. This reflexive account of Ari's stay in our home juxtaposes his socialist kibbutz life with that of my own hypercommodified individualistic urban life. His experiences of working in the illegal economy raise questions about my own hiring practices. In short, we confront ourselves through our respondents' cultural vision. Ultimately, in revisiting a study I had thought complete, this account raises the question of what we owe those people who help us to gain knowledge about their culture, the currency of our careers.

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