Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and the Making of Truth

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9780520257764: Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and the Making of Truth
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Challenges to ethnographic authority and to the ethics of representation have led many contemporary anthropologists to abandon fieldwork in favor of strategies of theoretical puppeteering, textual analysis, and surrogate ethnography. In Being There, John Borneman and Abdellah Hammoudi argue that ethnographies based on these strategies elide important insights. To demonstrate the power and knowledge attained through the fieldwork experience, they have gathered essays by anthropologists working in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tanzania, the Canadian Arctic, India, Germany, and Russia that shift attention back to the subtle dynamics of the ethnographic encounter. From an Inuit village to the foothills of Kilimanjaro, each account illustrates how, despite its challenges, fieldwork yields important insights outside the reach of textual analysis.

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"In recent decades anthropologists have learned to think of themselves as prisoners of text. In the new orthodoxy, ethnography is best viewed as a certain kind of literary genre, textual criticism provides a master theory for understanding all manner of social and cultural phenomena, and young anthropologists show a reluctance to leave the comfort zone of the archive and the library where, whatever else happens, no unruly interlocutor is going to do something unseemly like answering back. This brilliant and humane volume promises to put paid to all that. Anthropology is the product of an encounter with the world we call fieldwork, and fieldwork is an edgy business in which researchers necessarily put themselves at intellectual, political and ethical risk. This volume restores that edgy business to the heart of our concerns, and reminds anthropologists that their distinctive way of engaging the world can be the source of real intellectual excitement, and as worthy of sophisticated theoretical reflection as anything they do."―Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh

About the Author:

John Borneman and Abdellah Hammoudi are both Professors of Anthropology at Princeton University. Borneman's most recent book is Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo, and Hammoudi's is A Season in Mecca: Narrative of a Pilgrimage.

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Challenges to ethnographic authority and to the ethics of representation have led many contemporary anthropologists to abandon fieldwork in favor of strategies of theoretical puppeteering, textual analysis, and surrogate ethnography. In "Being There", John Borneman and Abdellah Hammoudi argue that ethnographies based on these strategies elide important insights. To demonstrate the power and knowledge attained through the fieldwork experience, they have gathered essays by anthropologists working in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tanzania, the Canadian Arctic, India, Germany, and Russia that shift attention back to the subtle dynamics of the ethnographic encounter. From an Inuit village to the foothills of Kilimanjaro, each account illustrates how, despite its challenges, fieldwork yields important insights outside the reach of textual analysis. Seller Inventory # APC9780520257764

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