Engaging with Spontaneous Anthropologies

Fieldwork Learning Practices across the Greek-Albanian Border

  • Antonio Maria Pusceddu University of Barcelona


This paper reflects upon the relevance of ‘spontaneous' anthropologies for the ways anthropological knowledge is produced and circulated, understood and made relevant either in teaching settings or in the broader public discourse. Inspired by Antonio Gramsci's observations on ‘spontaneous philosophy' and ‘common sense', I consider ‘spontaneous' anthropologies those conceptions and views – often fragmentary and contradictory – through which people make sense of the world they live in and act upon. Arguably, this is also what provides the rough empirical materials for more analytical understandings and explanations of the social and cultural worlds investigated by anthropologists. Drawing from my own research experience with Greek and Albanian border populations, I discuss the relationship between anthropology and ‘spontaneous' anthropologies in fieldwork learning practices. I suggest that closer engagements with ‘spontaneous' anthropologies in and across national borders can offer a fruitful basis for strengthening both teaching practices and critical anthropological interventions in the public sphere.