Love American Style and Divorce Toraja Style: Lessons from a Tale of Mutual Reflexivity in IndonesiaCritical Arts (2012)
The author recounts an episode from her ethnographic research in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia, when she was obliged to shed her comfortably familiar ‘fieldworker’ role and stray from a pre-plotted research agenda into emotionally dangerous terrain. She explores the serendipitous insights that can emerge only when the classic division between the realm of research and one's private life is muddied. By recounting some Toraja responses to the news of her impending divorce, the author examines the unexpected and occasionally destabilising understandings that emerge from these personal exchanges. The unanticipated insights concern both Toraja and American conceptions of marriage and its unravelling, and evoke visceral appreciation for the vulnerabilities inherent in violating the borders of acceptable anthropological genres. The story shared here seeks to explore the ways cultural knowledge can derive from a personally revealing approach to fieldwork, embracing rather than fleeing the research side-roads opened up by emotional challenges.
- cross-cultural communication,
Citation InformationKathleen M Adams. "Love American Style and Divorce Toraja Style: Lessons from a Tale of Mutual Reflexivity in Indonesia" Critical Arts Vol. 26 Iss. 2 (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kathleen_adams/12/