Rhineland ethnography and Pakistani reflexivity
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 131.2006:1-26
Keywords: ethnography (Rhineland), reflexivity and fieldwork, fieldwork and reflexivity, ethnography and text, anthropologist and fieldwork, autobiography

##This paper explores the relationship between the ethnographic text and the anthropologist. The context in which fieldwork is conducted and the process from fieldwork to written text is of immense importance for the understanding of any anthropological text. In the present case, the cultural background and the individual sensitivities of the fieldworker are examined during fieldwork in rural Rhineland (Western Germany) conducted by a Muslim Pakistani. These factors influenced his day-to-day interaction with the people in essential issues relating to socio-religious life, the conduct of dogs, the handling of food as well as views on hygiene or purity and cleanliness in German society. The people"s attitude towards the author also affected the text, since not a single conversation was initiated or conducted without a debate on Islam, fundamentalism, and terrorism. The individuality or the self of the author also attained significance from the manner in which he, under these circumstances, was able to conduct fieldwork. The redefined boundaries of behaviour made fieldwork resemble stage acting. Finally this article discusses conditions of the field, i. e. an industrially advanced society posing problems unfamiliar to anthropological literature. Such reflexivity, clarifying the pathway from observed participation to text, appears to improve the outcome of ethnography.##