Short-term Anthropology: Thoughts from a Fieldwork Among Plumbers, Digitalisation, Cultural Assumptions and Marketing Strategies

  • Mette Marie Vad Karsten
Keywords: Digitalisation, craftsmen, scale, methodology, applied anthropology


Long-term fieldwork and the methodology that goes with it have long set the golden standard for anthropological practice. Quick deadlines, relevance for economic growth, and bigger commercial market shares rarely equal solid anthropology. However, conditions like these are more often than not daily reality for many anthropologists working in the private and public sectors. Through an ethnographic case report this article emphasises the ability to scale up and down anthropological research methodologies and analytic tools used when performing “short-term anthropology.” It will be argued that short project deadlines within days or weeks, specific objectives, and commercial settings do not exclude anthropological practices. On the contrary, such conditions and the requirements involved encourage methodological adjustments and specificity.


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