As someone who regularly teaches and selects texts for a course in ethnographic methods, I thoroughly agree with Cohen’s contention that, as anthropologists, “what we don’t often talk about in describing our work is the role that fieldwork plays in our research” (6). This statement follows his equally fair characterization of two popular approaches to writing about fieldwork, one focused on methodological tools and the other focused on the experiences of the anthropologist, sometimes related humorously and in a confessional tone, yet too often “without the challenges of theory” (5–6).

Cohen’s account directly addresses this lack while relating his experiences researching changes in the traditional culture and economic situation of the town of Santa Ana del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1992–93, accompanied by his wife, Maria. In an introduction and seven crisply written, chronologically organized chapters, he recounts their year-long stay...

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