Friday, May 13, 2011


Having decided to begin the blog again, I also decided I had to go back to old posts and do some housekeeping. Specifically, I decided to remove all real names and images of Bolivians from the blog. Not all - there are still a few pictures of people whom I don't know, who randomly showed up in the backgrounds of some photos. But people who appeared regularly I had to remove, so that they could not be identified from this material.

Though it is not strictly a rule in the case of a blog, it is nevertheless a good idea to protect people's anonymity by always using pseudonyms - fake names - to disguise real identities. It is highly unlikely that any harm could come to anyone from their association with this program, but one never knows and it is best to play it safe. It is also a rule in ethnographic research, that real names should nearly always be replaced by pseudonyms. It is a standard technique in data collection, and one that I urge all students to practice.

So, if you are a frequent reader of this blog, don't be surprised to see mention of people whom you've never heard of – "don David," for example, or the guy I just refer to as "G." – either in new posts or in older ones. And if you post a comment to the blog, please refrain from using people's real names as well, or I will have to delete your comment.

By the way, I have not changed the name of the actual place where we work. Loma Pampa is still Loma Pampa, because people in that barrio specifically asked me to maintain the real name of the place. For some people in marginal communities, this project and the blog are ways of calling attention to their small barrio, of which they are justifiably proud, even while they may prefer to have their own identities kept private.

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