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Getting Ready for Field Work

Almost Ready to Depart



The Pollera Dress. Retrieved from Wikipedia

We are now almost ready to leave for Panama. The flight is tomorrow morning, far too early. The last week has been busy getting everything ready, including finalizing interview questions, reviewing the interviews from last year for topics we want more information on, and new pertinent topics to include in our study this year. Looking at our list of activities and interviewees in Santo Domingo, I could not be more excited for getting to Panama and getting started. Preparing has involved printing copious amounts of surveys and informed consent documents.We hope to get interviews with musicians, politicians, a pollera maker, and members of church groups contributing to putting on this celebration. There will be the Catholic mass, dances, music, parades, and a modified form of bull-fights. As with the Corpus Christi Festival, this is a mixture of religious and secular celebrations.

Bull Fights

Former Miss Panama advocating against bull-fights. Retrieved from Peta.org Panama banned bull fight in 2012, so this will be a performance where neither the bull (nor anyone else hopefully) is hurt. As an advocate for non-human animals, that was good news to me. I'm glad to be able to look forward to that part of the celebration too. Bull-fighting was a tradition in Panama, as it is in Spain, Portugal, and some Latin American countries, but it is also a topic that raises important questions regarding the balance between traditions and, in this case, animal rights/animal welfare. Methodologically, an actual bull-fight would have been an occasion to reflect on the question of what an anthropologist should do if they are faced with practices they perceive as objectionable. Given the method of cultural relativism, not imposing the norms of the researcher on the culture being studied, it is a constant dialogue both internally and in the discipline, as to when the researcher is best advised to set aside their objections, when simply abstaining from participating in an event during field work might be appropriate, and when voicing objection or even interfering is appropriate.Some non-violent bull-fights take place in U.S.A . Texas is currently the only state where traditional bull-fighting is legal. Posted 28th July 2017 by janni pedersen

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