By Ana M. Relaño-Pastor
I write this piece after the first weeks of initial fieldwork ‘somewhere in La Mancha’ and I wonder about the power of emotion in narrative as a newcomer breaking the ice to negotiate my own personal stories with the other protagonists of this new ethnographic journey. I have come to the realization that our emotional positionings as researchers in the field of choice is perennially be narrated by others and ourselves, orchestrated by the give and take of the field.
Emotion, or rather, those affective stances we daily perform in our narratives of personal experiences, is inseparable from our multiple conversations with different interlocutors in the field. In her book chapter, Doing ethnography. The Blackwell guide to research methods in bilingualism and multilingualism (Blackwell, 2008: pp. 248-262), Heller reminds us of the processes involved in the constructed realities of our ethnographies, which far from the common dilemma of whether or not influencing our interlocutors’ behaviors, requires, on the contrary, taking our role as researchers fully into account. Furthermore, when it comes to ethnographies of bi-multilingualism, considered, as she suggests, a particularly charged topic, “transversed by all kinds of ideologies and values”, our daily emotional stances are irremediably at the core of our narrative practices in the field. Narrative as that inner desire to reconstruct our past, to retell what is most important to us, to fix those fractured moments of personal experiences in the here-and-now of our telling, has the power to restore our emotional doings in the field.