Next 15th April (Wednesday) a member of LXNIGHTS will offer a seminar at the University of Évora. The seminar entitled “The place of ethnographic observation in qualitative research” will be presented by Daniel Malet Calvo to the sociology students of “Laboratory of Qualitative Analysis”, a subject taught by Rosalina Maria Pisco Costa. The presentation aims to contextualize the ethnographic inquiry as a methodological innovation belonging to anthropological tradition. In this sense the “participant observation” and other fieldwork innovations used for the first time by anthropologists in analyzing diverse social settings, are today broadly considered as the empirical foundations of qualitative research.
The seminar will provide a methodological starting point to the collective project “Through doors and side streets: Getting older in Évora’s Historical Center” in which the students will interview and observe the everyday life of old people in the public spaces of this medium size Portuguese city. After learning the theoretical and epistemological foundations of fieldwork, the students will get into Evora’s provincial urban environment to gather data in significant public places. The aim is to characterize old people’s socio-demographic profiles and describe their everyday lives in these urban spaces.
The object of this seminar, older people daily practices in a provincial city, seems to be far from Lisbon’s young-oriented nightlife leisure. However, in both urban environments the methods of ethnography are equally pervasive and relevant in understanding the social actors and their relation to the city. Social data is meaningful only when unveiled through ethnographic fieldwork.