, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 354-371

Ethnographic boundaries: Culture, class, and sexuality in Tokyo

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For those engaged in participant-observation, the first few months in the field are usually extremely difficult. By taking a reflexive turn, however, the events recorded during entrée are invaluable for revealing the social and cultural dimensions of the new life a researcher creates for him or herself. The following is an account of one researcher's attempt to enter a community in contemporary Tokyo. This account reveals the boundaries of culture, class and sexuality between the researcher and the community. The complex set of highly personal ramifications resulting from crossing those boundaries are also discussed.

Many people have read various versions of this paper, but I would especially like to thank the following for taking the time to provide me with thought provoking comments: Beverly Eliasoph, Steven Brint, Deborah Davis-Friedmann, Ezra Vogel, Robert J. Smith, Shulamit Reinharz, and Lee Rainwater. I am especially indebted to Dorinne Kondo, whose insights and warm support proved to be invaluable. Of course, all of the usual disclaimers apply.