Embodied Sites, Gendered Spaces

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  • Title: Embodied Sites, Gendered Spaces: Implications of Ethnographic Work “At Home”
  • Author(s): Ana Ning
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Diverse Identities
  • Keywords: Fieldwork, Embodiment, Anthropology, Ethnographic Location, Social Responsibility
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2327-7866 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8560 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7866/CGP/v17i01/19-34
  • Citation: Ning, Ana. 2017. "Embodied Sites, Gendered Spaces: Implications of Ethnographic Work “At Home”." The International Journal of Diverse Identities 17 (1): 19-34. doi:10.18848/2327-7866/CGP/v17i01/19-34.
  • Extent: 16 pages


This article interrogates traditional anthropological tropes of faraway fieldwork through a reflection on the author’s field study “at home” in Toronto, Canada as an embodied process. Taking embodiment as the starting point for field research reveals the strengths of using emotions in fieldwork experiences. The author also considers the limitations of the anthropological tropes of cultural shock, cultural naïveté, and the viewing of informants as repositories of knowledge that the anthropologist transforms into data. Furthermore, maintaining a sense of embodiment prompts the ethnographer to rethink the implications of “location” in fieldwork and in anthropological research, challenging the idea of a field site at a distant physical locale, by conceptualizing the ethnographic location in terms of mutual intellectual engagement with the research participants. By focusing on narratives of lived experiences and participants as critical commentators, this article challenges others to engage in a rethinking of the role of the anthropologist in a culture of expertise and professionalization of knowledge.