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Project planning





This science rests today on the notion of ‘fieldwork’, meaning that a researcher lives among a group of persons for a sufficient period to get a fixed role and personality for him/herself within the ‘field’.  Ethnographers specialise by repeating fieldwork in their groups of choice. All my groups of choice were development assistance practitioners.  Therefore, I have automatically acquired ‘fieldwork skills’ effective in such contexts or fields.
In the specialised literature, the ‘development encounter’ is the object of research.  According to French ‘contemporary anthropology’, any development encounter is defined when three basis for analysis are clear:

 the lifeworlds of the actors (participants, protagonists)

 the effects of the researcher’s presence on the “project” (dynamics)

 the reaction of the institutions and actors to the ethnographic results

In development assistance, these three basis are even more fundamental than for other fields.  A development project is like an ideological pressure cooker and an ethnographer is like a little hole where some vapour escapes and the pressure becomes evident.


The three basis also impose some prerequisites which I always clarify before starting to work.  My behaviour during the fieldwork phase is not entirely predictable but these prerequisites help a potential client to decide whether the research is viable.

Participant Observation


Augé M. 2006, The world of the anthropologist, Oxford: Berg.

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Thomas Grammig



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