Rational, dispassionate, an emotional outsider, someone unaffected by the field setting--these are the traditional views of the fieldworker. This view, however, is changing; recent literature has pointed to the fieldworker's own personal stake and involvement in the research setting. Now, Jennifer Hunt takes another step in this direction, showing how the fieldworker's unconscious mind often shapes the interaction between researcher, subject, and setting. The role played by affective and cognitive processes in research, how different schools view researcher subjectivity, and the definition of the researcher as a person and investigative tool are thoroughly examined. In addition, Hunt carefully defines psychoanalytic theory and method and shows how it differs from traditional sociological approaches to fieldwork.
Replete with case analyses of her own work and that of others, Psychoanalytic Aspects of Fieldwork is a fascinating, challenging reminder to the qualitative researcher of the complexities of working in the field.
"Jennifer Hunt has made a saltatory step in facilitating the capacity of investigators in the field to make effective use of their inner emotional resources. . . .Drawing upon her own experiences and upon in-depth interviews of a number of her colleagues, she convincingly demonstrates that unconscious strivings, aversions, and emotional conflicts within the investigator play a major role in the process of selecting, studying and constructing hypotheses about target populations."
--Martin A. Silverman, M.D., P.A.,
"A clearly written overview of psychoanalytic theory and its divergences from classical and interactionist sociological theory makes this a useful text for novice and expert alike, while her discussion of the process of transference in fieldwork relationships contributes interesting insights into both qualitative analysis and Freudian theory."
--Nexus: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology
"The strength of Hunt's book is that it applies systematically one theoretical framework, psychoanalysis, to all the phases of fieldwork and illustrates its pertinence through fascinating illustrations, many derived from her own experience. The book will make readers sensitive to many pitfalls in dealing with delicate situations, even if these pitfalls cannot be avoided."