The Nocturnal Anthropologist: Experiencing Corporeality and Exploring the Method of Nocturnal Fieldwork Spitalfields Market, City of London Corporation

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 11:00am
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 11:00am to 12:30pm

As part of the regular CPS seminars, Iulius-Cezar Macarie presented some of his fieldwork experiences and preliminary research findings of the 'Integration and International Migration: Pathways and Integration Policies (INTEGRIM)' project. The content of the discussion-interview at the Centre for Policy Studies has been summarised below.

Empirically, the legacy of diurnal ethnography is the dominant point of reference in anthropological research. Inevitably, whilst testing and navigating in the darkness with the method of researching night work and the night economy, it brings to the forefront the inconveniences and novelty in experiencing the corporeality of doing nocturnal ethnographic fieldwork. The innovative mixed methodology consisting of very deep participant observation with informal conversations, coupled with semi-structured audio interviews and video ethnographies aims to capture and examine the complex subjectivities of migrants nightshifting at the market, as well as the object/subject realms in research.

Macarie said "Living an antithetic way of life to diurnal creatures, as a nocturnal researcher reaching out to the invisible lives of night workers, I turned native – just like my respondents, I too have my boots and hands dirty while I load produce or drive the forklift around the market, six nights per week, on 10.5 hour shift, with 5 hours day sleep. Upon reflection, the researcher in me became empathic with the workers' precarity and that perhaps made me miss the less-visible forms of resistance, solidarity or competition. Or perhaps their reactions sometimes helped or other times hindered my nocturnal investigation?"

In the context of contemporary interdisciplinary and professional exchanges, he shared in this presentation, the tools he used in his exploration – his own body and mind, and the new mediums – to convey knowledge that he gained on the workers of the nocturnal cities of the future, invisible otherwise to the diurnal eye and mind.