One Wedding and a Funeral: Reflections on Fieldwork, Community and Relationships in Cape York Peninsula
McIntyre-Tamwoy, Susan. 2013. One Wedding and a Funeral: Reflections on Fieldwork, Community and Relationships in Cape York Peninsula. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 14(2): pp. 161-171.
Marrying into the community whose culture you are studying opens up philosophical and practical quandaries for the researcher and facilitates opportunities that are not otherwise available. Marriage brings with it many subtle shifts in relationships within the community. George Orwell (1937) speaks of class difference but could equally have been talking of cultural difference when he said ‘it is not so much a stone wall as a plate glass pane of an aquarium; it is so easy to pretend that it isn’t there, and so impossible to get through it’. Does marriage enable you to cross that barrier? What difference, if any, is there in the nature of the resulting research and its benefits or otherwise to the community? This paper provides a glimpse into the author’s journey as a researcher in Northern Cape York Peninsula, Australia and reflects on the way interpersonal relationships influenced her approach to research.