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Seminar: "Ethnography, Gifts, and Relations: Or The (Un)Desired Gender Identities of Baking Your Way through Fieldwork"

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Location: S0.10 (Social Sciences Building)

Ethnography, Gifts, and Relations: Or The (Un)Desired Gender Identities of Baking Your Way through Fieldwork

Pedro Monteiro (University of Warwick)


The social sciences, especially those studies with an interactionist stamp, can be characterized as a study of social relations; and in ethnography, we find ourselves investigating social relations through relations. While rapport and the challenges involved in the ethnographic encounter have been widely discussed, the theme of gifts from/to informants is still a taboo. In this presentation, I reflect on my experience in conducting ethnographic fieldwork in a large industrial organization and the chain of gifts — especially food offers — shared with informants. I explore how these material-effective exchanges shaped my (gender) identity and my access to specific individuals and groups in the organization. I argue that gift exchanges offer a ‘concrete’ basis to explore current debates in (feminist) ethnography about rapport and fieldwork relations thus enabling us to re-think the dichotomy between collaborative and exploitative research.

Speaker Bio:

Pedro Monteiro is an Early Career Fellow at Warwick's Institute of Advanced Study and a Research Fellow at Warwick Business School. He is an ethnographer of work and organizations with a particular interest in classic themes in management and organization studies. In 2018, he received the Academy of Management's Louis Pondy Award for Best Dissertation Paper.

The seminar will be chaired by Maria do Mar Pereira (Department of Sociology, and Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, University of Warwick).

This event is free and open to all, and refreshments will be provided. Pedro will generously offer some of his own (amazing!) baking, to enact and demonstrate the real-life baking exchanges he will describe in the paper. An opportunity not to be missed!

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