Professors Hopkins and Mitchell have asked me to comment upon the issues raised in their paper as they appear from the vantage of the discipline of anthropology. I should like to state at the outset that my own views are hardly orthodox. Like many others whose graduate education occurred in the 1960s, I took great liberties in ignoring disciplinary boundaries both in my education and in my research. I was, and still am, more interested in the processes of social and cultural change, of “modernization” and “development,” than I am in remaining an anthropological purist. The number of researchers interested in the study of social change continues to increase, and many of us find that a focus on these processes often orients us away from the traditional approaches of our disciplines and toward whatever methods and techniques prove to be useful for gathering information relevant to our studies.
I found in the course of my research in rural Tanzania in the late 1960s that extensive survey techniques complemented the intensive anthropological techniques of long-term participant observation and reliance on a small number of key informants. A growing number of scholars who identify themselves as anthropologists, or would be so identified by others—though not all of them—agree with such a position. Yet most would probably go so far as to say that while research based solely on in-depth, intensive techniques qualifies as anthropology, any research which is based only on survey techniques has lost many of the qualities which anthropologists and others recognize as characteristic of the discipline.