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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:I took an allegiance to secrecy: complexities of conducting ethnographic research at home
Author:Setlhabi, Keletso Gaone
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:anthropological research
girls' initiation
Abstract:Anthropological research was traditionally conducted by foreign researchers in 'exotic' places. However, the trend changed over the years due to various reasons such as less funding for research abroad, resistance from newly independent States, and the realization that, after all, the 'exotic' could be found even 'at home'. The research dynamics changed further when those who were studied earlier began to study their own. This paper is a reflection of the author's participatory observation in the 2009 'bojale' (girls' initiation) revival ceremony of Bakgatla-baga-Kgafela in Botswana. She entered 'bojale' with the dual roles of initiate and participant observer. She was expected to adhere to the ceremony's rules in the same way as the other initiates. The discussion reflects on the author's dual identity experiences and relationships during initiation in order to interrogate ethnography among one's own culture. The author concludes that, even though being 'at home' has advantages such as less travelling requirements and easy rapport, it is a complex process when it involves sacred ceremonies such as 'bojale' because of the societal obligations such as adherence to secrecy that the researcher is bound by during and after the research. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]