A provocation from the past:
I am the last to decry field work… But when I reflect on the broad generalizations that have emerged in the history of our science, I find that the most stimulating have come on the whole from armchair students, who saw no tribe though they studied European society: Van Gennep’s analysis of rites of passage, Lévy-Bruhl’s of pre-logical collective representations, Durkheim’s of division of labor, Hubert and Mauss’ of sacrifice and offering, and the many works of Tylor, Frazer, Marett, Engels, Freud, Pareto. When I consider the type of data with which they worked, I can only wish that they might be here again to use the data provided by modern field-research in even more fruitful hypotheses. This is not to deny that some modern field workers have produced as stimulating hypotheses: but, if we are to learn from our history, I hope that some of them will forsake the savage for the study.
(Max Gluckman, An analysis of the sociological theories of Bronislaw Malinowski, 1949; and see Manners & Kaplan, “Notes on Theory and Non-Theory in Anthropology,” 1968).