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4_21_05_460j_rev

4_21_05_460j_rev - 21A.460 The Taste of Ethnographic Things...

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21A.460 April 21, 2005 The Taste of Ethnographic Things Discussing how more ‘alive’ certain things are Looking at ethnographic descriptions to discern what is privileged within a culture Questions to consider: What does the author think ethnography is? How should ethnographies be read? What relevance does ethnographic accounts have? The account describes the issues of how to describe a different way of living. How to compare different ways of living in space? Methodology What does he do that is different from most other ethnographers? o He spends a longer period of time with his subjects than usual o He became a part of the society, was accepted by the people/society he was simultaneously studying. o His methodology disproves the common idea that researcher should “keep their distance” from subjects Look back at descriptions of fetish. Example of the knowledge created between first contact between Africans and Europeans. Notion of fetish is a flawed artifact caused by Europeans’ lack of full cultural awareness. Example of the possible misunderstandings that can occur if researcher is not fully capable of understanding truly different cultural contexts How would one move across cultural boundaries? Is it possible for a person from one culture truly transcend and understand one that is different? Colonial boundaries (as described by Fabian) really trying to be systematic in methodology. Initial explorers tried to maintain distance between themselves and the “Other” that they were studying, ostensibly for ‘accuracy’ in research. Distance also established through hygienic practices, creating boundaries between them and ‘Others’ Trying to be objective, looking at material data only, trying to reduce outside influence. Psychological categories of establishing difference (Gilman). Stereotyping reflecting social anxieties. Nancy Rose Hunt describes how Africans were also resisting European notions that were being imposed on them Geurts: shared in life of extended family, which was innovation in anthropology. Stoller: takes Geurts’s methodology one step further. Immerse totally within social structure o Perhaps prefigures Fabian’s notion of ecstasis. Stoller goes beyond traditional boundaries between explorer/researcher and subject? o Is this the best way to do ethnographic research? What is a way to measure success of an ethnographic project?
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