Models and methods: Sketch of a field study
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. The case of the Arabian babblers is a controversial and signicant one in ethology that troubles standard sociobiological theories of the evolution of behaviour. In this chapter from her book Naissance d'une théorie éthologique, Vinciane Despret examines the divergent models and methods of the scientists studying the babblers, their different epistemologies and ontologies that are only truly visible and understandable if one takes into account their particular ways of comporting themselves with the birds, and the babblers active role in writing their own scripts. In so far as it resembles the immersive participation and individual biographing of anthropological and primatological methods, and pays skilful attention to the reasons for their actions, Zahavi's way of relating to and questioning the babblers gives them the opportunity to respond.