Doing Fieldwork in China

$36.00 SGD

edited by Maria Heimer and Stig Thogersen

Doing fieldwork inside the PRC is an eye-opening but sometimes also deeply frustrating experience. Fieldwork-based studies form the foundation for our understanding of Chinese politics and society, but there are conspicuously few detailed descriptions in the China literature of how people actually do their fieldwork, and of the problems they encounter. This lack of public methodological debate not only undermines academic standards of openness: it also stalls constructive discussion on coping strategies to shared problems, and it leaves graduate students going to the field for the first time with a feeling of being the only ones to encounter difficulties. In this volume scholars from around the world reflect on their own fieldwork practice in order to give practical advice and discuss more general theoretical points. The contributors come from a wide range of disciplines such as political science, anthropology, economics, media studies, history, cultural geography, and sinology. The book also contains an extensive bibliography. This work is of relevance to postgraduate students from the social sciences and humanities who plan to do fieldwork in China; to experienced scholars who are new to the China field; and to experienced China scholars with an interest in methodological issues.

"This book is essential reading for graduate students planning fieldwork in China. It brings out in the open information usually shared informally, and has lessons for students about theory, methods, and about China in these very personal cases. – Joseph Bosco, Asian Anthropology, 6 (2007) Even though not written in the step-by-step format to chart the course of fieldwork planning and execution, this book contains first person narratives that provide the kind of immediacy not readily available in other standard textbooks. – Shu-min Huang, in Chinese Studies, 25:1 (2007) This is not a nuts-and-bolts manual, but it is more than just a set of stories from the field. Here are some sobering and helpful accounts of how other anthropologists have struggled, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing … to carry out the research they envisioned from home." – Susan D. Blum, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16:3, 2010

Maria Heimer researches children's rights, especially children's right to speak, from a broader welfare perspective. Some of her research in this area was conducted in China.

Prior to his retirement, Stig Thøgersen was professor of China Studies at Aarhus University. He has published extensively on Chinese education and on political, social and cultural change in rural China.

Publication year: 2006
334 pp / 229mm x 152mm
1 table
ISBN: 978-87-91114-97-7, Paperback

NIAS Press