Dance floors are affective places. Immersed in sound, bodies move around and are moved in rhythmic yet unforeseeable ways as feelings, desires, and sensations emerge in and traverse the dynamic hybrid of flesh and space. Dance floors are also notoriously difficult to write about (Gibbs, 2008; McCormack, 2008), not least if we have an ambition also to account for the embodied practices and experiences of a person’s dancing while intoxicated with alcohol and other drugs (AOD) (St. John, 2012). This problem reflects a more general challenge for researchers interested in the corporeal, (im)material, sensorial, and emotional dimensions of human and social (night)life: How to investigate and present in analysis the difficult to grasp somatic and affective forces of the phenomenon under study? In the present chapter, I take the view that ethnography is one possible way forward, and I explore the possibility of transposing affective dimensions and experiences from field to text in ethnographic writing. More specifically the focus will be on the fundamental but understudied practice of writing field notes. My main argument is to think of field notes as assemblages. This move has a number of consequences, which will be fleshed out in more detail below. Furthermore, as we will see, the chapter does not reserve the notion of assemblage to the question of how to understand field notes. Rather, and reflecting Gilles Deleuze’s proposition that assemblages ought to be ‘the minimum real unit’ of analysis (Deleuze and Parnet, 2002, p. 51), the concept is also employed to make sense of the overall research apparatus, the phenomenon under study and the researcher him- or herself.
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- The Field Note Assemblage: Researching the Bodily-Affective Dimensions of Drinking and Dancing Ethnographically
- Palgrave Macmillan UK