If I knew what anthropology is, I would start it earlier and skipped all the years of (re)orientation. Now I finally arrived in a field i am comfortable with. But the more I learn about it, the more it becomes obscure.
Anthropology is good in asking questions. Every answer given is only preliminary, leading to even more questions. There is a good thing about it: A student of anthropology will probably never feel like there is nothing left to explore. The statement “born too late to explore the world and born too early to explore the universe” does not apply to anthropologists. The world is changing and the universe of human interactions is opening up more and more.
Every theory and every work done is not meant for eternity. The field is constantly changing, so are the researchers. There are new theories and new ways of dealing with old problems. When it comes to the methods, there seems to me that there is no universal methodology applicable to every single problem. It is a little bit like in martial arts. You have to be flexible, dynamic and open for new ideas, otherwise you won’t grow.
The anthropologist – that Indiana-Jones-like caricature at least –, is on a constant quest for new problems to solve. Never resting and being contented with a simple answer. The journey is the destination and I like this kind of approach. I like to compare it to reading wikipedia-articles by klicking on every tagged word until you get totally side tracked and lost the reason you actually went there in the first place (Well, you should have a certain self discipline in that regard. Stick to the topic!)
One’s unique experiences makes the way of dealing with “the field” more fruitful. It is not perfect though and an anthropologist will always be dependent on their fellow researchers. Staying in touch with others and sharing experience is one of the purposes I created this blog in the first place. It makes things easier as well. Most importantly: You have to be self critical. You cannot contribute any value to anyone if you are not able to look at yourself critically and grow beyond old thought patterns. People notice if the person in front of them speaks out of hand-on knowledge, rather than by looking at the world from the comfort of the arm chair.