I suppose the last years of my existence have formed me into an anthropologist. What does that mean? – you might rightly ask. Working in research and then deciding to go back to university for my PhD feels as though that is, at least, what was meant to happen.
It has been both a challenging and great journey. Great, mostly because the main methodology of anthropology resonates with me: ethnography. Ethnography means immersing oneself in a research context over a longer period of time. So it would be more accurate to say that it is ethnography that is my home, more so than the discipline of anthropology that claims ethnography’s essence in its institutional grounding across university campuses. But, as we know, there are many ways of living home. We might have more than one. And, sometimes, we might take a much-needed distance from it to look at the home that claimed us with different eyes.
One of the key things I learned spending those years academia – for better or worse – is that it is important to question, to push and to extend beyond the evangelism of one’s field, one’s temporary or long-term home. Being involved in the interdisciplinary Digital Humanities community (thanks to my research on the dating app Tinder) made something very clear to me. Being a scholar means that we must stimulate conversations yonder disciplines and acknowledge their shortcomings. That means opening ourselves up to there being other ways of knowing than the one we have settled on as home and thinking outside the academic ivory tower, even (or especially) if this is where the journey eventually leads us. I believe that conversation and shared, accessible knowledge are a good place to start – in terms of open-access but also in easing up on disciplinary worship.