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Ateliers d’anthropologie is an online thematic journal with a review committee. Open to subjects focused on ethnographic studies combining theoretical innovations and precise observations, the journal publishes anthropology in the making. Since it is published online, it allows authors to include any supporting information and multimedia sources.
We publish one or two thematic issues per year, as well as publishing articles progressively under the Varia section of the journal.

Latest issue
53 | 2023
Ma Chine à remonter le temps

Saisir le changement social à travers l'ethnographie au long cours
My old China: Grasping social change through long-term fieldwork
Edited by Adeline Herrou and Claire Vidal
Couverture d'Ateliers d'anthropologie, 53|2023
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Credits: Clichés Adeline Herrou, Aurélie Névot et Claire Vidal

This issue takes as its starting point several ethnologists’ desire to begin a shared reflection on the dizzying changes undergone by Chinese society of the past four decades, based on their fieldwork site, which they sometimes no longer recognise. Faced with a radically changed relationship with time and space, their aim is twofold: to better understand how China itself has handled, incorporated and presented these changes driven by a certain necessary, accelerated ideology of “development” (fazhan); and, from a reflexive point of view, to reconsider how a long-term ethnographic practice can be useful for thinking about and indexing these changes.

Each ethologist describes today’s China, with an eye to what they experienced at the time of their first ethnographic study. When these accounts are read one after another, they help us understand the crucible between fieldwork conducted in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, while also depicting various “states of China”: that of the post-Mao watershed after the Cultural Revolution, that of the open door policies and liberalisation reforms, that of the China of renovation and rehabilitation, and finally that of strong China. They also deal with the question of Taiwan during those same periods, and of China seen from Nepal. These retrospections lead the researchers to assess changes in the field and identify, from one return visit to the next, what impact the era has had on their perception of evolutions of the family, the environment, religions (Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, shamanism), politics, and local minorities.

What heuristic value does the anthropologist derive from going back in time? Reflecting on the “thick boundaries” to be crossed in order to navigate between different topological places (Baptandier); understanding what it means to grow up and age together (but separately) with one’s informants, and the positioning readjustments this implies (Chicharro); or looking at oneself and considering what sort of witness of important social movements one has been for one’s interlocutors (Ko); or examining the diasporic relationship that changes or even reverses during a multisituated ethnography (Trémon). Going back in time also means: reflecting on an ethnographic relationship “in motion” shaped by a once-remote and enclosed field site that is now accessible by high-speed train (Névot); understanding the “unexpectedness of fieldwork” that reverses relations (Vidal); taking into account the “zero point of observation” that everyone (including the ethnologist) has of a place or event, shaping one’s reactions or lack of reaction in the face of destructions (Herrou); and pinpointing events that can help identify “moments of bifurcation” in anthropologists’ observation temporality (de Sales).

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