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Title: Dreams of the informant about the researcher: Some difficulties inherent in the research relationships
Author: Sarah Levine
Source: Ethos,Vol. 9, No. 4, Dreams (Winter, 1981), pp. 276-293

Extract: “When attempting to interpret behavior they observe in the field setting, anthropologists should learn to trust not only their theoretical and ethnographic knowledge but also their sensitivity to the subtleties of interpersonal relationships as well. In order to learn as rapidly as possible about the differences and similarities in psychological functioning between members of their own culture and of the people among whom they are working, they should closely monitor their reactions to their research subjects. For when, in what might appear to be a familiar situation, they are responded to in what they sense as an unfamiliar way, their discomfort may alert them to underlying disparities between their attitudes and expectations and those of their hosts. It is from this initial point of personal unease that they begin to delineate the psychological topography of the new culture. Accordingly, on entering what is likely to be longterm relationships with informants, researchers should become accustomed to scrutinizing most carefully the interpersonal process.”



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