Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Fri, 3 Mar 1995 18:00:08 +1000
Thomas McCormack wrote:
> Robert Johnson posts, without comment, a writing setting forth certain
> concerns of a group of informants, and his most vocal detractors prove his
> point for him.
> No one of those who first mount the attack bother to read and understand
> what the post is. They merely label it "crap" and proceed to attack him
> personally. He then makes the point that the Declaration is not about HIM,
> but about the INFORMANTS and WHAT THEY SAID, and that WHAT THEY SAID, AND
> SAY, may be important, not only as a revelation of their habitus but for what
> it may reveal about neo/post colonialist practices in the academy. And reveal
> it does!
Robert Johnson did not post that Declaration as something for us to
study. He posted it as part of a long-running diatribe, in a context
which gives it meanings those who wrote it may not have envisaged.
While I don't agree with the person who argued that this makes Johnson
an author of the document, I don't think Johnson becomes immune from
criticism simply because the material he is posting is not his own.
Both his messages and the resulting attacks on him (not all of which
I agree with) have to be read in context - in the context of previous
> I am only heartened that Mr. Johnson continues his fieldwork amongst the
> anthropologists. While he may not change their minds, or even be trying to,
> he does indeed reveal them for what they are.
Fieldwork??? Since when did walking into a village and jumping up and
down screaming in the middle of the marketplace qualify as fieldwork?
I always thought anthropologists doing fieldwork were supposed to
listen to their informants, and I don't see Robert Johnson taking
much notice of what anyone on this list has to say.
P.S. While I think the goal is a worthy one, I'm no great fan of the
Human Genome project. It has become Big Science, and as a result
draws resources away from lots of small science that would probably
be more useful/interesting. (Not to mention the possibility of using
the resources in providing education or community health services.)