Arensberg, Kimball, archive, art, dialogical aesthetic, community, successors.
We consider a methodological opportunity when
revisiting classical anthropological studies, namely the social anthropological
archive of the Harvard-Irish Survey (1930-1936). A gift of the Irish field
diaries of Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball, together with the with familial
and community effects of being written about in published accounts is our
departure point. We
explore the potential of collaborative research that is dialogical, aesthetic,
community based and generates knowledge that fosters ‘empathetic insight’
(Kester 2004). Our approach is a form of ‘reflexive
revisiting’ of the archive via field diaries and photographs from the 1930s,
suggesting an alternative methodology for mutually engaging successor participants,
artist and sociologist in transformatory acts in relation to community effects
of anthropological research (Burawoy 2003).