The ethnographer as a trader: On some metaphors in the Komi fieldwork diaries
Collecting ethnographic items for the Estonian National Museum has been linked to the practice of buying objects during fieldwork. Often we can find metaphors or expressions connected with trading in the Komi fieldwork diaries. Comparing ethnographers with merchants is a stereotypical way of describing the activities of Estonian researchers in the field. If ethnographers use, in their diaries, metaphors and expressions connected to trading, it may be just a spontaneous phrasing or inter-textual play of words. Inside the community of Estonian ethnologists there exists some kind of discourse style, which is followed in the fieldwork diaries, more or less consciously. This style of narration is also connected to the specific social and historical context in which ethnographers act. At the same time, even satiric inter-textual quotations do not exclude the possibility that some of this discourse is related to a deeper level of human consciousness.