Surrender, catch and the imp of fieldwork

Whitaker, EW ORCID: and Atkinson, P 2019, 'Surrender, catch and the imp of fieldwork' , Qualitative Inquiry, 25 (9-10) , pp. 936-944.

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We build on the work of Kurt Wolff to capture some distinctive aspects of ethnographic fieldwork. Drawing on the sociology of knowledge and phenomenology, Wolff introduced and developed the idea of surrender-and- catch in order to encapsulate the twin processes of engagement and reflection. We extend the idea to incorporate what we call the 'imps’ of ethnographic fieldwork. For neither surrender nor catch are themselves predictable or perfectly under the ethnographer’s control. While fieldwork is itself unpredictable, there may be many unanticipated ‘catches’. Moreover, there is often an ethnographic ‘imp’ that intrudes itself, questioning the very desirability or good sense of the fieldwork itself. The imps arise unbidden but can pose searching, sometimes unwelcome – though ultimately productive – questions. We illustrate the paper from a brief fieldwork encounter with the world of studio photography.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Qualitative Inquiry
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1077-8004
Related URLs:
Depositing User: EM Whitaker
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2017 10:04
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 22:21

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