People, Place, and Time: How Structural Fieldwork Helps World-Systems Analysis
AbstractSome of the most insightful work in the political economy of the world-system area has been produced by researchers whose extensive fieldwork offers them deep familiarity with people and locales. Few other methods are as useful to understand the impacts of structural change on daily life and the ways agents resist, alter, and shape emerging structures. Yet such structural fieldwork is marginalized by the over-reliance of pedagogical materials on social constructionist, social psychological, or interactionist perspectives and also in world-systems research and writing by the privileging of long durée historical or quantitative cross-national methods. This paper introduces the concept of structural fieldwork to describe a qualitative field methodology in which the researcher is self-consciously guided by considerations emerging out of macro-sociological theories. We identify four advantages of structural fieldwork: the illumination of power?s multiple dimensions; examination of agency and its boundaries or limitations within broad political and economic structures; attention to nuances of change and durability, spatial and temporal specificities, and processes of change and durability; and challenging and extending social theory. These advantages are illustrated in select examples from existing literature and by discussion of the two author?s fieldwork-based research. The paper concludes that explicit attention to fieldwork may strengthen political economy and world-systems research and also de-marginalize political economy informed by structural fieldwork.
How to Cite
Gellert, P. K., & Shefner, J. (2009). People, Place, and Time: How Structural Fieldwork Helps World-Systems Analysis. Journal of World-Systems Research, 15(2), 193–218. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2009.318
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.