Skip to main content
Palgrave Macmillan

Writing Friendship

A Reciprocal Ethnography

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Demonstrates how the anthropological discipline is changing as a way of knowing and representing life and other
  • Presents a reciprocal experiment as a means of invitation to reflection on the purpose, method, and audience of anthropology
  • A methodologically innovative ethnography of the transnational, multi-ethnic, unequal city of Madrid

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Literary Anthropology (PSLA)

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this book

eBook USD 16.99 USD 79.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book USD 16.99 USD 99.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access

Licence this eBook for your library

Institutional subscriptions

About this book

This book tells the remarkable story of the friendship between Liria Hernández, a Roma woman from Madrid, and Paloma Gay y Blasco, a non-Roma anthropologist. In this unique reciprocal experiment, the former informant returns the gaze to write about the anthropologist, her life and her environment. Through finely crafted and deeply moving text, Hernández and Gay y Blasco suggest new ways of doing and writing anthropology.

The dialogue between Hernández and Gay y Blasco provides a courageous account of the entanglements and rewards of anthropological research. Drawing on letters, conversations, and fieldnotes gathered over twenty-five years, each of the authors talks about herself, the other, and the impact of anthropology on their two lives. They examine their intertwined trajectories as Spanish women and reflect on the challenges of devising their own reciprocal genre. Blending ethnography, life story and memoir, they undermine the dichotomy between author and subject aroundwhich scholarship still revolves.

Similar content being viewed by others


Table of contents (6 chapters)


“Engrossing, provocative, moving, analytically fascinating – this reciprocal ethnography is all these. Most importantly, what we find in Writing Friendship is a close-up, laid bare demonstration of how people make meaning out of one another’s ideas and experiences. Fascinating.” (Christina Toren, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of St Andrews, UK)

“On rare occasions you come across a book that you don’t want to finish, a book that inspires so much that it takes your breath away. Writing Friendship is that kind of book.  Through creative experimentation, the authors, who come from very different social worlds in Spain, stitch together a marvelous story. They show us how slowly developed long-term friendships can shape the kind of deep ethnography that underscores the wondrous complexity of the human condition. This is a book that has soul.” (Paul Stoller, author of Yaya’s Story: The Quest for Well Being in the World)

“A wonderfully and beautifully written work. Gay y Blasco and Hernández uniquely position emergent and shared story as a framework for co-interpretation, collaborative research and writing.” (Luke Eric Lassiter, author of The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography)

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK

    Paloma Gay y Blasco

  • Madrid, Spain

    Liria Hernández

About the authors

Paloma Gay y Blasco is a social anthropologist teaching at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK.

Liria Hernández lives and works in Madrid, Spain.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Writing Friendship

  • Book Subtitle: A Reciprocal Ethnography

  • Authors: Paloma Gay y Blasco, Liria Hernández

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Literary Anthropology

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-26541-0Published: 06 December 2019

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-26544-1Published: 31 December 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-26542-7Published: 23 November 2019

  • Series ISSN: 2946-4218

  • Series E-ISSN: 2946-4226

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 189

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Social Anthropology, Feminist Anthropology, Ethnography, Sociology of Culture, Cultural Studies

Publish with us