My name is Jonathan. I’m 23 years old, cismale and gay. I’m a druid and pagan, and have been such for about five years. I aspire to have good enough ideas that people will pay me money to hear about them. Writing fine prose would be nice, too. I’m an anthropologist by training, so I imagine I’ll end up doing something involving that.
Anthropology is the study of humanity. Ethnography is the genre which anthropologists write, and the technique we use for getting our information. In short, we go places, and write about them. Like travel-writers, but with bigger words and tougher final exams.
My blog is takes its name from the nickname of one of my intellectual heroes, Tom Harrisson – the “Barefoot Anthropologist”. In the days when the average ethnographer was writing interminably dull books about exciting people and trying to be scientific about it, Harrisson eschewed all that and decided to live as part of the communities he studied. He also understood the fact that retaining a sense of the thrill of being there is essential to good ethnographic writing and that objective neutrality is never possible where human beings are concerned. He also started a movement called Mass Observation, in which ordinary people wrote about their daily lives, and what they came up with was compiled into a huge account of British life in the 20th century. It stimulated a vibrant interest in ordinary life, de-mystified social science and helped people appreciate the limitations of their own perspectives.
It is that kind of work that I aspire towards. I want to help people to question who and what they are, regardless of their academic involvement. You don’t need to be a porn star to enjoy sex, and you don’t need to be a sociology professor to take an interest in the way people live now. More than that, I want to do this as one of those people, rather than an ivory-towered expert.
Maybe this means I’ll do myself out of job. If so, I don’t care – it’s worth doing!