Akhil Gupta's Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field PDF

By Akhil Gupta

ISBN-10: 0520206800

ISBN-13: 9780520206809

One of the social sciences, anthropology is predicated so much essentially on "fieldwork"--the long term immersion otherwise of existence because the foundation for wisdom. In an period whilst anthropologists are learning subject matters that face up to geographical localization, this e-book initiates a long-overdue dialogue of the political and epistemological implications of the disciplinary dedication to fieldwork.These cutting edge, stimulating essays--carefully selected to shape a coherent whole--interrogate the proposal of "the field," displaying how the idea that is traditionally built and exploring the results of its dominance. The essays talk about anthropological paintings performed in areas (in refugee camps, on tv) or between populations (gays and lesbians, homeless humans within the usa) that problem the conventional barriers of "the field." The members recommend substitute methodologies acceptable for modern difficulties and finally suggest a reformation of the self-discipline of anthropology.

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Additional info for Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science

Sample text

We go there, return from there, and above all, we constantly make plans to go there. " The field unites us; however disparate our research foci and areal specialties, the field is the generic space within which we do what we do. And therefore, disciplinary convention has it, what we do is anthropology. This folk conception of a generic site of research, at once nowhere and everywhere-that is, anywhere an on-duty anthropologist happens to be-has consequences. Just as "the Other" is a designation that strips people of cultural and historical particularity, "the Field" 70 LOCATING THE PAST MARY DES CHENE i' strips places of their specificity; as the object and ground of anthropological practice, both "the Other" and "the Field" become ahistoricized con\\ ceptual entities, transformed by the ethnographic gaze.

The prevalence of this view across a range of theoretical orientations suggests that it rests precisely on awareness of change in the present, but assumes that change to be novel and unprecedented. Third, views about history and historiography made the doing of historical research in the kind of locales to which anthropologists traditionally went-imagined as these sites variously were, as pristine, traditional, static, and so on-seem either impossible or unproductive. When historical evidence is equated with written documents, a person working in a nonliterate society will not pursue historical analysis.

As the Comaroffs have put it, "Historical anthropology ... is dedicated to exploring the processes that make and transform particular worlds" (1992b: 31). They go on to assure us that "Insofar as global systems and epochal movements always root themselves somewhere in the quotidian, then, they are accessible to historical ethnography" (1992b: 39). Yet they also allow that "We remain heavily dependent on the observer's omniscient eye. I5 We may yet try to study "global systems and epochal movements" in a way that is not rooted in the quotidian of particular locales, yet does not surrender all sense of local variability and human agency in the manner of world systems theory.

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Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science by Akhil Gupta


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