Abstract

This paper reflects on the role of fieldwork in folklore studies and anthropology. By speculating on the fieldwork experience of Ernesto de Martino in Lucania, we consider the figure of the Gramscian Fieldworker commenting on Stephen Olbrys Gencarella’s proposal for a critical folklore studies. An imaginary de Martino, one that never existed, is seen as the precursor for such a figure, built around the scenario of the “end” as depicted by Heidegger and embodying the Gramscian proposition of the Organic Intellectual. The second part of the article grounds such a figure in the author’s ethnographic experience of London, offering an examination of the current state of British multiculturalism through the case of an East London singer-songwriter. A practical example of how to interpret the fieldwork tactic pioneered by an imaginary de Martino in Lucania is presented as a way for social sciences and the humanities to overcome the predilection for text analysis of deconstructionism.

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