Centre for SocialAnthropology and Computing

45 years in the Turkish Village

Paul Stirling's Ethnographic Data Archives

Paul Stirling did ethnographic research in two Turkish villages between 1949 and 1994. He collected formal household data in 1950, 1971 and 1985. Since 1990 we have been preparing an archives of this data for eventual public access for teaching and research, as well as the passerby who has a more than casual interest in Turkey and its past half-century of change.

Prof. Stirling's book: Turkish Village
Prof. Stirling's Thesis Prof. Stirling's Articles

Search his 1949-1986 Fieldnotes    
Search his Turkish villagers Database
  Notes and advice for database
Photographs   Video / Film

Projects arising from this Archives by others
A look to the future: The APFT Content Code System

Background for the project.


(all people who have helped along the way)

His motives for preparing the archives were threefold. Firstly, the period covered was a period of dramatic change in Turkey and he had been fortunate enough to document some of this change at the level of the villages. He believed that this information was of great value for studying this change and as a basis for future research. Secondly, he wanted a complete record of his field research, including its defects, for teaching purposes as well as for research. It is rare for an anthropologist to provide a more-or-less complete record of their field research - it is unprecedented to do this for public inspection. He spent a great deal of time and effort adding comments to his fieldnotes, careful to be as brutal and honest as possible. Thirdly, he hoped this work would serve as an exemplar for how ethnographic research should be presented, to encourage transparency and depth where the usual case is to disseminate tidbits and rely on faith (and these days rather great faith). He was aware of the negative effects of conventional publishers on anthropology which effectively restricts ethnographic works to extended essays with popular appeal and little or no data. He saw the computer as a means of subverting this trend. Prof. Stirling passed away on June 17th of 1998, shortly before his archives were openied on October 13th 1998. See 'Background ' for further information about the archives.

In addition to the years of hard work by Prof. Stirling, we thank the legions of MA and Research Students who have worked on this material and the clerical staff who have entered the material. Support by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Leverhulme Foundation made this work possible.

Risky Business: Changing Landscapes of Anthropology
Stirling Memorial Lecture as delivered at the University of Kent at Canterbury, 14th Feb. 2001
Pat Caplan, Professor of Anthropology, Goldsmiths College

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