Pp. 103-133 (31)
Keith V. Bletzer
This chapter opens with elaborated field notes from a primary site a few
hours from Agton, where the author spent time with sex workers who canvassed local
neighborhoods, in addition to street solicitation for “dates” that paid for sexual services.
In some ways the site is typical of a seasonal locale to which farm workers travel onthe-
season, and home-base from which they migrate to other areas. The example leads
the reader into an appraisal of classic ethnographies in the social sciences that
exemplify fieldwork on social adversity and marginality in single-site urban locales,
against extended ethnography through multi-sited fieldwork among farm workers across
several locales. Core elements are reviewed that characterize everyday matters in each
form of ethnography, namely, transportation, sports, swearing, drugs, alcohol, dating,
and ethnographic process. Each element in one way or another enables ethnographer
(field)/author (text) to share the experience of immersion into the field site, which led to
strategic social relationships. Shifting among locales and settings in the ethnography of
farm labor in contrast enables entry into a new site with cumulative information newly
learned in other sites to that point in time, which also leads to strong social relationships
with key people.
The chapter opens as I begin a day of observations, spending time around a convenience
store where migrant men and local residents make purchases and sex workers spent
time singly or in pairs, when not “working”. The women called the store owner,
“Mom”. They sometimes share problems with her. One of the sex workers, Zubira, is
introduced in the excerpt that opens the chapter, which illustrates how fieldwork
requires flexibility and patience, acceptance of others, and attentiveness to interactions.
Atypical encounter, cultural guide, discriminatory practices,
economic hardships, ethnographic gambits, exemplar studies, field relationships,
field research, immersion 24/7, lateral contacts, local language, on-site,
participant observation, Pink Edict, role identity, seasonal harvesting, Sex Work
Study, social adversity, upgraded techniques.
School of Human Evolution and Social Change Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ (USA)