Anthropology and Autobiography: 29

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9780415051897: Anthropology and Autobiography: 29
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Anthropological writings by anthropologists in the field have long been a valuable tool to the profession. But until now, the theoretical implications of its use have not been fully explored. Anthropology and Autobiography provides unique insights into the fieldwork, autobiographical materials and/or textual critiques of anthropologists, many of whose ethnographies are already familiar. It considers the role of the anthropologist as fieldworker and writer, examining the ways in which nationality, age, gender, and personal history influence the anthropologist's behavior towards the individuals he is observing. This volume also contributes to debates about reflexivity and the political responsibility of the anthropologist, who, as a participant, has traditionally made only stylized appearances in the academic text. The contributors examine their work among peoples in Africa, Japan, the Caribbean, Greece, Shetland, England, indigenous Australia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Autobiography is developed alongside political, intellectual, and historical changes. The anthropologists confront and examine issues of racism, reciprocity and friendships. Anthropology and Autobiography will appeal to anthropologists and social scientists interested in ethnographic approaches, the self, reflexivity, qualitative methodology, and the production of texts.

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Review:

"By struggling with the problems of reflexivity in the construction of fieldwork evidence, this volume of the ASA Monographs contributes a different approach to the postmodern preoccupation with the reflexive genre of anthropological writing. Recognizing the historicity of the anthropologist's self is at least a step forward in the process of acknowledging the historicity of others. "Anthropology and Autobiography should be of value to students and teachers interested in qualitative methodologies and in ethnographic approaches to the self."
-Blanca Muratorio, University of British Columbia

Synopsis:

Many anthropologists believe that autobiography is merely narcissism. That view is challenged by the contributors to this book whose detailed accounts of fieldwork and their relationships with the people they were encountering provide unique insights into how anthropologists really work. They show that the 'race', nationality, gender, age and personal history of the fieldworker do affect both the process of fieldwork and the production of the final text. The book is a stimulating contribution to current debates about reflexivity and the political responsibility of the anthropologist.

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