This article concentrates upon the intensities of emotion experienced by a novice ethnographer. The argument is that acknowledging the emotional impact of events in the field enables the ethnographer to analyse reflexively the differences between the values of the self and those of the other. Seeing beyond the emotions generated at times of crisis can permit and facilitate an analysis of the everyday social relations between participants. Dealing with the personal impact of these emotions is an entirely different matter; very few others (supervisors, academics, peers) although well-intentioned, will appreciate the depths of these emotions and the problems that they produce for an individual ethnographer. The argument is illustrated by reflexive field notes, experiences and poetry from the author's ethnographic study of British Deaf people.

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