Love in the Time of Ethnography: Essays on Connection as a Focus and Basis for Research
(Rowman and Littlefield, 2017) is edited by Lucinda Carspecken
, anthropologist and lecturer in the School of Education, Indiana University Bloomington. In this beautifully curated book, contributors from various social science disciplines---sociology, anthropology, education, psychology, etc.---explore different facets of a basic component of human life, love. The authors define love broadly to include affective feelings, expressions, practice and philosophy across different cultures and traditions. It not only reveals how affective feelings are deeply shaped by different cultural, social and political practice, but also examines love's potential to transcend the boundaries between self and the other, to increase the solidarity among young activists, to overcome traumatic experiences, and to anchor the relationship between human beings and nature. While grounded in the ethnographic approach, the book also intentionally includes unconventional academic writings such as poems and autobiographies. Of particular interest is the discussion of love as a primary tenet in social science research methodology: the conceptualization of research praxis as love-in-action and the expatiation of the relationship between love and validity.
Audience who are interested in the emotional and affective aspects of human life will find this book inspiring. It will also draw attention from social research methodologists who are searching for alternative research paradigms other than the predominant post-positivist approach.
Pengfei Zhao holds a doctoral degree in Inquiry Methodology from Indiana University-Bloomington. Among her research interests are youth culture, identity formation, qualitative research methods, and comparative sociological and educational studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript studying the coming of age experience of rural Chinese youth during and right after the Cultural Revolution.