Florence and the Field School
The Florence Ethnographic Field School is a special kind of study abroad program for students interested in gaining fieldwork experience in a multicultural, European urban center. Ethnographic research (aka “fieldwork”) is qualitative research based on participant-observation within a community. It is a fundamental method of social research, and is central to both anthropology and sociology. Historically, anthropology has been concerned with foreign societies, while sociology focused on urban life; the Florence Ethnographic Field School brings these traditions together by offering an ethnographic fieldwork experience in the heart of one of the world’s archetypal cities.
Florence is one of the modern world’s original urban centers, making it an ideal site to learn how the participant-observation techniques of ethnographic research are applied to complex social environments. The architectural and artistic heritage of its medieval and Renaissance heyday has made Florence a global destination for tourism and study, the recent explosive growth of which has created a new set of challenges for the city. This is a fascinating historical moment in which to witness the latest stage in the ongoing transformation of a city that has been re-inventing itself since it was founded over two thousand years ago.