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GSSC Seminar Series August 30, 2022


Following Marine and Ethnographic Fieldwork Practices – a Pathfinder for Collaboration between Natural and Social Scientists?

Nane Pelke (Center for Sustainable Society Research, University of Hamburg)



Field research, once transferred from the natural sciences to the social sciences at the end of the nineteenth century, belongs to the core practices of scientific inquiry. Despite its long tradition, the respective field conceptions have scarcely been investigated systematically. Furthermore, the integration of different ontologies of the field, that might potentially enable natural and social scientists to learn from each other’s fieldwork practices, still needs to be researched. The DFG-funded project "Experiencing Nature and Society. A Multi-sited Inquiry into Marine and Ethnographic Field Sciences" will therefore pursue the following question over the next three years: To what extent can the concept of “field” be made empirically and theoretically productive as a unifying analytical tool between the natural and social sciences in the Anthropocene? Against this backdrop, the project explores the understanding and practice of ethnographic and marine biology fieldwork as an experimental framework in which nature and society meet in the Anthropocene. It is motivated by the idea to establish a methodological framework that enhances an interdisciplinary knowledge culture within sustainable research. Adopting a multi-sited research design, the project team will investigate different natural anthropological and marine biology research institutes to explore the diversity of field research and field concepts. Grateful for the opportunity to visit the GSSC for four weeks from 29th of August onwards, my talk introduces the GSSC-members into the project’s framework and my own approach within our research. Following this brief introduction, I am very much looking forward exchanging ideas regarding your fieldwork experiences through “learning cabinets”, consisting of small groups and to discuss options to explore current anthropological fieldwork-related practices together with you.

Short Bio:
Nane Pelke, M.A., sociologist, is a researcher and PhD student in the DFG-funded project "Experiencing Nature and Society. A Multi-sited Inquiry into Marine and Ethnographic Field Sciences", which is located at the Center for Sustainable Society Research, University of Hamburg.