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Research Updates; Returning to Panama

Research Updates: Returning to Panama

After a hiatus, I'm back at the blog ! I'm excited to announce that we will be conducting more field work in Panama this August ! This time, we will head to the city of Santo Domingo to learn more about their Patron Saint Festival.

Location of Parita and Santo Domingo

In terms of our study conducted last year in Parita, we have kept working on data organization and data analysis. Specifically, we have prepared and submitted abstracts, based on last year's field work, for presentations at the annual meeting of American Anthropological Association. One of our papers focuses on the ethnographic work of contemporary culture, while the other draws parallels to archaeological work done on extant Meso-American cultures, Currently, the review process is ongoing and we are waiting for responses.

Themes from the Data

As we go through the data, coding for emerging themes and looking for connections, several interesting topics and connections are emerging. Of pertinence appears to be an intersection of authenticity, the past, and traditions. These concepts came up in our conversations, and their meaning is interconnected. That is to say, conceptions of the past and of traditions influence how authenticity is perceived. Interestingly, current social and economic differences, nationally and regionally, also seems to play a part in how the past and authenticity of traditions are constructed and used. There will be plenty more to follow as analysis and interpretation continues.

Saint Dominic depicted as receiving the rosary from the Virgin Mary. He founded the Dominican order in the Catholic Church. The Dominicans as an order spread the importance and use of the rosary.

Planning for August Field Work in Santo Domingo

The city took its name from their patron saint Santo Domingo, or Saint Dominic De Guzmán, whose feast day is August 8th. Leading up to this day, the city will celebrate a festival in his honor, which we are honored and excited to be participating in. In preparation, we are developing our interview questions, researching the literature, and making travel arrangements. In many ways, our focus will be similar to last year's study, focusing on current function and tourism aspects of a religious festival in a smaller Panamanian City. Making most of the visit, we hope to visit our friends in Parita on the drive from Panama City to Santo Domingo.

The Spanish Language

In preparation for this year's field work, I have started to work on improving my Spanish language skills. While I've been in the fortunate situation that the rest of the research team can cover my lacking Spanish skills, language skills facilitate both relationship building with research participants and it has methodological implications for gaining an indepth understanding of the perspective of the research participants. While I'll be far from proficient in Spanish by the time we arrive in Panama, having some fundamentals in place should allow me to start speaking and develop my skills through some practice.

Posted 9th June 2017 by janni pedersen

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