Echanges épistolaires Echanges épistolaires en anthropologie : l'enquête Harvard-Irlande/ Letters in anthropological research: the Harvard-Irish Survey (1930-1936)
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Byrne, Anne. (2011) Echanges épistolaires Echanges épistolaires en anthropologie : l'enquête Harvard-Irlande/ Letters in anthropological research: the Harvard-Irish Survey (1930-1936) in Ethnologie francaise, Irlande après Arensberg et O Duilearga, 4(2) 241-252.
This article examines a selection of the professional and private letters associated with the social anthropology strand of the Harvard-Irish Survey (1930-1936). These research letters contribute to the historiography of the first visit to Europe in the 1930s of an American team of anthropologists and archaeologists engaged in a multi-disciplinary study of a 'modern' society. How letters are deployed, who writes to whom, what is relayed, requested or refused reveals the deployment of a novel research strategy by anthropologists Arensberg and Kimball. Letters to and from research informants reveal not only the anthropologists' requests but informant voices, perspectives and practices - material that informs ethnographic observations on Irish town and country life. The complexities of informant-researcher relationships are also highlighted. A narrative approach to the analysis of research letters is introduced.