Theory and methods are two sides of the same coin. Both should be explicit and subject to external scrutiny. I come from a number of different anthropological traditions. My doctoral supervisor came from the intellectual lineage of Evans-Pritchard, the classic structural-functionalist. I have enormous respect for this tradition, and in many ways would classify myself as a 21st century structural-functionalist in my methodological approach to fieldwork. It’s been a while since I was a doctoral researcher, however, so for better or worse, I’ve picked up a few methodological influences over the past two decades. My principle field site, rural Punjab, is messy and defies simplistic explanations– the people there exhibit similar levels of pragmatic adjustment and accommodation as those that inspired the post WWII transition to the transactionalism of the likes of Victor Turner, Freddie Bailey and Fredrik Barth.

The theoretical interest in cultural models has imposed its own demands for innovative research methods. As a PhD student, the late Paul Stirling once asked me how I could be so arrogant as to imagine I could ever study ‘culture’. He said you can’t study what’s inside people’s heads– you can only study what they do and say and the institutions they establish to order their relationships. I’m not sure I have an answer to his question, even after a few decades of replaying that conversation in my head many times, but I have sought to adopt and develop transparent and replicable methods to generate some credible representations of what is going on in other people’s heads.

Significant publications

Fischer, M. D., Lyon, S. M., Sosna, D., & Henig, D. (2013). Harmonizing Diversity: Tuning Anthropological Research to Complexity. Social Science Computer Review

Fischer, M. D., Lyon, S. M., & Zeitlyn, D. (2017). Online Environments and the Future of Social Science Research. In N. G. Fielding, R. M. Lee, & G. Blank (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods (2nd ed., pp. 611–627). Sage Publications, Ltd.

Fischer, M. D., Read, D., & Lyon, S. M. (2005a). Cybernetics and Systems: An International Journal: Introduction. Cybernetics and Systems36(8).

Fischer, M. D., Read, D., & Lyon, S. M. (2005b). Introduction (to Special Issue on Cultural Systems, edited by M.D. Fischer, D. Read and S.M. Lyon). Cybernetics and Systems: An International Journal36(8), 719–734.

Fischer, M. D., Read, D., & Lyon, S. M. (2005c). Special Issue on Cultural Systems. Cybernetics and Systems: An International Journal36(8).

Fischer Michael *Lyon, S. Z. D. (2008). The Internet and the Future of Social Science Research. In R. M. B. G. Fielding Nigel Lee (Ed.), The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods. SAGE Publications.

Lyon  David Fischer Michael D., S. M. Z. (2002). Finding the ‘good stuff’ on the web: A review of SOSIG. Anthropology Today18(3), 27–27.

Lyon, S. M. (1999). ‘Open’ Ethnography and the Internet in the Field: Increased Communications, Feedback, and Usability Versus Technical and Ethical Issues. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford30(1), 51–66.

Lyon, S. M. (2004a). An anthropological analysis of local politics and patronage in a Pakistani village. Edwin Mellen Press.

Lyon, S. M. (2004b). Modeling Context in Punjabi Conflict Resolution: Social Organizations as Context Agents. Cybernetics and Systems.35(2–3), 193–210.

Lyon, S. M. (2005). Culture and Information: An Anthropological Examination of Communication in Cultura Domains in Pakistan. Cybernetics and Systems: An International Journal36(8), 919–932.

Lyon, S. M. (2010). Genealogy, kinship, and knowledge: A cautionary note about causation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences33(5).

Lyon, S. M., & Henig, D. (2013). Paper as a serious method of concern. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory3(3), 421–425.

Lyon, S. M., Jamieson, M. A., & Fischer, M. D. (2015). Persistent Cultures: Miskitu Kinship Terminological Fluidity. Structure and Dynamics: EJournal of Anthropological and Related Sciences8(1).

Lyon, S. M., & Magliveras, S. S. (2006). Kinship, Computing and Anthropology. Social Science Computer Review24(1), 30–42.

Lyon, S. M., & Mughal, M. A. Z. (2017). Categories and Cultural Models of Nature in Northern Punjab, Pakistan. World Cultures22(2).

Lyon, S. M., & Mughal, M. A. Z. (2019). Cultural Models of Nature and Divinity in a Rain Fed Farming Village of Punjab, Pakistan. In G. Bennardo (Ed.), Cultural Models of Nature Primary Food Producers and Climate Change(pp. 141–164). Routledge.

Lyon Stephen M. Sillitoe, Paul. W. Robin. (2005). Implementation of e—Science tools for complex analysis of human—Environmental interaction. First International Conference on E–Social Science.

Zeitlyn, D., & Lyon, S. M. (2012). Varieties of openness and types of digital anthropology. Durham Anthropology Journal18(2), 97–111.