Julia Smithers, MA, Anthropology

September 19, 2019

The Defence will take place on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Library Thesis Defence Room (LIB 2020, Burnaby Campus).

The members on Julia's examining committee are:

Chair:  Dr. Pamela Stern, Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, SFU
Senior Supervisor:  Dr. Dara Culhane, Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, SFU
Supervisor: Dr. Stacy Pigg, Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, SFU
External Examiner: Dr. Jeannie Morgan, Assistant Professor, First Nations Studies, SFU

All are welcome to attend.

Living health and wellness: a story of the conversational interview


This thesis is an experiment in trying to get to know the conversational interview that follows one researcher’s practice of talking to six women about health and wellness. In “sitting” (Pigg 2013) with this experience I problematize what separates friend from research participant, interview from casual conversation, and theory from everyday knowledge, to show what might be lost when we as ethnographers conscribe to industrial styles of qualitative interviews and research. By sharing my process and the voices of my conversation partners I argue for a renewed awareness of what we as ethnographers might discover when we make space for the people that we interview. I locate this work in conversation with anthropologists in the field who also grapple with questions of positionality and potentiality, including Kathleen Stewart, Sarah Pink, Andrew Irving, João Biehl, and others who focus on affect and the acknowledgement of everyday experiences in ethnographic research and representation.

Keywords: conversational interviews; affect; representation; health and wellness; methodology