This blog is neither about books nor about doing book research in a library. It is about doing research on libraries. Will that interesting enough for a blog? The last time I blogged from my research, I did fieldwork in Paris and tried to find out how France changed with postcolonial immigration. I ended up in the vibrant Northeast Parisian slam poetry scene, a highly rewarding experience in all ways. From my four initial days at this library (and 25 000 words of fieldnotes), I know it is rewarding for research, but we’ll see about the blogging bit (which of course will be completely anonymised).
About me: In a wedding recently I answered anthropologist when someone asked me what I was doing. “Oh, yes?” the woman replied. “Very few people actually work as anthropologists.” I know, but I’m one of those lucky few. For some years now, I’ve been teaching anthropology at The University of Oslo – also a highly rewarding anthropological practice, but now I’m off for research again. My earlier long-term fieldwork experiences are from London and Paris, with shorter projects in a public and a university library in Oslo.
My research interests often start with questions concerning national identity, belonging and social cohesion – such big, political issues. After a short time in the field, all kinds of other issues pop up. In Paris, I became interested in what writing and performing poetry does to people and the relationship between people. In the library, a similar question is; what does this particular kind of coexistence in this particular kind of space to do to all the different people, who carry out all their different tasks, side by side? In the quiet and concentrated space of Oslo University library, I discovered the importance of atmosphere and affect, which now are among my latest topics of interest.
More than writing about the library, or a particular library, per se, I intend this blog to be about ethnographic research in and on the library. I think. But we’ll see.