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Born Out of PlaceMigrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor$
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Nicole Constable

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282018

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Ethnography and Everyday Life

Ethnography and Everyday Life

(p.23) 2 Ethnography and Everyday Life
Born Out of Place

Nicole Constable

University of California Press

This chapter describes my approach to ethnographic research and writing, including the importance of “stories” and my evolving relationships with mothers and babies. It describes my first eye-opening meeting with a group of migrant mothers and their babies, and it illustrates how my relationships with them unfolded over the course of two years. It also points to the challenges of research that combines public anthropology—with its critical policy implications—with concerns that I call “micro-feminist-ethnographer-activism.” As a scholar-activist, I am keenly attuned to the exploitative conditions of work and migrant life but also attentive to the creative ways in which people make lives and find ways to survive despite the odds. As a humanist anthropologist, my goal is to convey the experiences of migrant workers as living, breathing human beings—not simply as victims. This is not to glorify their existence but to acknowledge their strength and resilience, while also pointing to where “the system” has failed them.

Keywords:   ethnography, stories, methodology, feminist-ethnographer-activism, public anthropology, writing

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