Friday, May 4, 2012

Ahoy! and Well Met

Capt. Emeleth MacCreedy
of the Mist Reaver
My name is Heather Dumas, Em to my friends, and I'm working on a master's degree in sociology at Ohio University. I'm about to embark on a research project that will culminate in my master's thesis.

If geeks are people who are super passionate about their hobbies, and nerds are really academically minded, then I'm a geek nerd. (Or as one friend put it, a "gnerd.") I am really interested in what sociologists call deviant subcultures--but not so much the criminal element as those fringe groups of people who like to live life, or at least part of it, a bit differently. Many of the groups I like to study usually have some element of dressing in some rather weird clothing and/or in some way portraying a persona that is not the one the everyday world sees...usually. This is how I ended up studying the people at renfaires. That's short for renaissance faires, and the extra "e" is an intentional use of the old fashioned spelling used by members of this subculture.

Yes, that's me dressed as a pirate, "Captain Emeleth MacCreedy," since it is customary to take on a renaissance era persona while at faire. (You were here for the pirates after all, right?) This is a participant observer study, meaning that I get to jump right in there and play along with everyone else at the faire. I've actually done a little research on renfaires before, as an undergrad, and have developed a network of informants, as we call them in this academic discipline, who have graciously accepted me as part of the crew, as it were. You'll hear more about them later, since they are the real stars of this show--they're who I'm writing about--the cast, playtrons, boothies, and other rennies.

This blog is to keep interested parties informed of my progress, and to let my friends read about those adventures which will never make it into the academic article that is the final product of this research. My field research will take place starting in early June and continue through late October. I'll be interviewing people at faires, along with taking lots of notes and photographs (pictures are sometimes worth a thousand words in field notes). More on that later. Until then... Wind in yer sails!

1 comment: