Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Fieldwork in the Living Room: An Auto-ethnographic Essay, which I published earlier in my career, was an attempt to provide a systematic methodology for gathering information about the relationship between the self and objects displayed in homes. The present paper is an effort to update my methodology in view of advances that have been made in recent years in material culture studies which show that my perspective was limited to some extent by the uniqueness of the case study I used to illustrate my research. Formal ethics approval was also not required when I wrote Fieldwork in the Living Room. Today, however, the ethics of most social science investigations in Canada involving contact with human subjects must be formally approved by a university committee. The procedures which might be followed in order to obtain approval for an invasive research project about domestic artefacts are outlined. In conclusion, the revised methodology is illustrated with a case study of the apartment of a young artist and writer influenced by the 1970s punk subculture.