Methods – University of Copenhagen

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Methods

In all of the individual projects, the principal method is one of anthropological fieldwork, i.e. long-term participant observation. The researchers involved all have previous field experience. Fieldwork always requires an acute awareness of the possible range of particular observations, suggestions and theories, and when global climate change provides the prism of fieldwork, a high degree of awareness about scales and concepts is essential for the production of robust knowledge. One must balance tightly between experience and theory, the more so because the shared social experience in the field cannot be seen as external evidence to the achieved understanding. In fieldwork a fine-tuned topographical awareness is created.

There is a marked comparative dimension to the project, both within and between the projects. The comparative method has always been at the core of the anthropological enterprise, explicitly or implicitly as a comparative consciousness. The attention to difference has been conducive to theorizing, not only about particular cultures or societies, but more importantly about modes of thinking and of establishing certainties. 

In addition to fieldwork, historical and archival research will be made and archaeological evidence of past settlements used in the interest of the larger view of development through time. Geographical measurement (remote sensing) will also be employed, enlarging the comparative dimension in space.

The validity of the findings will be tested within both local and international research environments, where a constant exchange of findings, hypotheses, and arguments will take place. As the ambition is to create new robust theories of global connections and local resilience, the discussion of the sustainability of conceptual innovations is absolutely vital to the Research Centre.