Re: provocation

Fri, 18 Aug 1995 08:27:38 +1200

Dear John,

It seems to me that there is a whole range of possibilities missing: those
whose primary goal is to learn in ways other than from the objective
distance which you call The Scientist. Many whose primary goal is more
open learning will also have some element of wanting to offer alternatives
or assistance, but without taking up the hard stances you label Reformer
and Activist. And they may well hope to be accepted in some integral way
without attempting Going Native.

I'm not going to try to make up labels for these; can't think of any that
really work. One that fits somewhere in here is the oft-mentioned intro
concept of the ethnographer being child-like in learning, although this
picks a metaphor styled on inside position. Some others might range around
Lover of Knowledge (gee, isn't there some word for that?), Inquisitive
Friend, Interpreter, Nosey Parker. I know. None are very satisfactory.
The range needs to reflect the traditional not-really-insider role and the
current approaches with heavy doses of scepticism about objective truths.
And I think that these "ideal" types are never going to be very
satisfactory, because most of us combine a variety of roles and positions,
context-sensitive, ambiguous, changing through time. And I think that is a
good thing.