Anthropology with an Attitude: Critical Essays (Cultural by Johannes Fabian

By Johannes Fabian

This e-book collects released and unpublished paintings during the last dozen years by means of one among today’s so much uncommon and provocative anthropologists. Johannes Fabian is celebrated outdoors of his self-discipline simply because his paintings so frequently overcomes conventional scholarly barriers to deliver clean perception to valuable issues in philosophy, historical past, and cultural stories. the 1st a part of the publication addresses questions of present severe quandary: Does it nonetheless make experience to go looking for objectivity in ethnography? What can we achieve after we invoke “context” in our interpretations? How does literacy swap the paintings of the ethnographer, and what are the limits among ethnology and heritage? This half ends with a plea for recovering negativity in our pondering tradition. the second one half extends the paintings of critique into the earlier by means of interpreting the start of recent ethnography within the exploration of vital Africa throughout the past due 19th century: the justification of a systematic perspective, the gathering of ethnographic gadgets, the presentation of data in narration, and the position of recognition―given or denied―in encounters with Africans. a last essay examines how the Congolese have again the “imperial gaze” of Belgium via the paintings of serious reminiscence in well known historical past. the 10 chapters are framed through meditations at the relevance of idea and the irrelevance of the millennium.

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Method does not make the object. Approaches that profess to have no need for epistemol­ ogy (and/or ontology) make ontological decisions nevertheless, and are in danger of ending up in the realm of metaphysics, that is, of ontology removed from critical discussion. In current anthropology, concern with ethnographic objectivity as an epistemological problem has been conspicuously absent. We surmise that this is so because the object(s) of inquiry have been ontologized. ) remains is a legitimation that is limited to rules and tech­ reality.

This is not a plea for an ethnography that condones bias and distortion; it simply expresses an epistemological position according to which more is needed to make ethnographic knowledge valid than the absence of ethnocentric bias. That "more" is what we are trying to work out when we think about objectivity and objectification. Ethnographic Objectivity I7 A picture similar to the one we found in the survey of periodicals emerged from the contributions by two anthropologists to a series of lec­ tures on "Objectivity and Cultural Divergence" (Brown 1984).

It also confuses cultural relarivism with the moral rejection of ethnocentric bias. As if cul­ tural relativism could not be the ultimate objectivist theory-n objectiv­ ities are more than one objectivity. Discrepancies among cultures regard­ ing what counts as objective have been declared superficial and reduced to certain basic functions or averaged statistically; both procedures­ functional reduction and cross-cultural statistical correlations-were at one time or another thought to give us objective measures of cultural diversity.

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