Volume 8 Issue 2 (2012): New Approaches to Psychodynamic Research
Main Articles

A Psychoanalytic Approach to Fieldwork

Ellen Ramvi
University of Stavanger
Published December 16, 2012
  • ethnographic fieldwork,
  • psychoanalysis,
  • field relations,
  • negative capability,
  • infant observation,
  • projection,
  • introjection,
  • learning from experience
  • ...More


This article focuses on what both psychoanalysis and anthropology have in common: the emphasis on the researcher's own experience. An ethnographic fieldwork will be used to illustrate how a psychoanalytical approach unfolds the material when studying conditions for learning from experience among teachers in two Norwegian junior high schools, and also the strong methodological implications of this approach. The researcher's struggle to remain open is elaborated. Here "openness" is regarded as something more than a principle for research practice. It is a way to relate both to oneself and the other, to emotions as well as actions, to the inner as well as the external world.