• Caroline Humphrey University of Cambridge



In European anthropological circles there was a burst of interest in the topic of ideology in the 1970s in the wake of the riots of May 1968 in Paris and consequent intense interpretative conflict about theory among French intellectuals. The ideas then discussed in the wider context of the Cold War still have pertinence to the present day when ideology seems to clothe, if not inspire, armed confrontations and authoritarian forms of government. This article reviews the intellectual formation then current among Western anthropologists, points to its deficiencies, and notes that even though the issues then debated about ideology still have some interest they were proper to their time. Since then, not only has anthropology moved on, but the world and the very purchase of “political ideology” has fundamentally changed. In this light I re-visited my fieldnotes from research in Siberia in the 1990s and 2000s and I attempt with hindsight to reflect on my ethnographic experience and its relevance for today. Finally, I introduce some remarks about the relevance of all this to the contemporary situation in Russia.


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How to Cite

Humphrey, C. (2023). ANTHROPOLOGICAL FIELDWORK AND “HAVING AN IDEOLOGY”. Ethnologia Polona, 44.